Updates on Covid-19 Efforts – September 30th

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

As I mentioned last week, while we expected cases to increase as schools opened, it is important not to solely focus on case counts but also to review hospital utilization rates, transmission rates and demographics infected. We need to continue making decisions that keep Utahns safe without unintentionally or negatively impacting businesses and people working vigorously to stay within health guidelines. Decisions of this magnitude significantly impact Utahns’ lives and livelihoods and need to be made precisely and holistically. I continue to urge everyone to do their part to slow the spread as we continue to fight COVID-19. I’m so thankful for Utahns doing their best under difficult circumstances to live their lives and keep their friends, families and neighbors safe.

Recently, I have received numerous emails with concerns regarding the governor’s state of emergency. I understand your concerns. The Legislature decided not to extend the state of emergency in August. The governor, under his prerogative, issued another state of emergency.

The governor recently asked the Public Health and Economic Emergency Commission to increase their involvement with COVID-19 recommendations. We are working with the governor’s office to obtain more data to ensure decisions are being based on exact data. We continue to have a lot of discussions with the governor on the best path forward and are working to find a balanced approach to continue protecting the public’s health while maintaining our low unemployment rate.

I believe with additional input from the legislative commission, we can move the state in a more focused direction that protects lives, increases consumer confidence and provides financial stability for Utahns and Utah businesses. I appreciate your feedback.

State Data (as of September 30th)
Total Cases:                            73,042
Total People Tested:               829,970
Total Hospitalizations:             3,847
Total Deaths:                           453 9
Estimated Recovered:             55,141

Bear River Health Department
Total Cases:      3,377
Box Elder:           573
Cache:                 2,785
Rich:                    19
Recovered:         2,686
Box Elder:            456
Cache:                 2,219
Rich:                    11
Deaths:               11
Box Elder:            5
Cache:                 6
Rich:                    0

The graph below shows Utah’s ICU capacity from May 1 through September 23.

Public Health Order
Gov. Herbert and the Utah Department of Health announced a public health order to move Provo and Orem from the low restriction level (yellow phase) to the moderate restriction level (orange phase). An exception will be made for sports teams to continue, but no spectators will be allowed. This order became effective on Wednesday, September 23.

Rich County moved to the low restriction level (green phase) on Wednesday, September 23, bringing the total number of counties in the low level of restriction to 14.

Watch the full briefing here.

State of Emergency
Gov. Herbert issued an executive order that will again place Utah under a state of emergency. This order will be effective through October 20. More information here.

New jobs and businesses are coming to Utah

  • Northrop Grumman received a new contract and is going to expand its footprint in Utah, creating 2,500 new jobs.
  • Malouf is expanding in Northern Utah and is adding 1,000 jobs.
  • GoHealth is adding 1,000 jobs in Utah County.
  • Misfits Market is locating its West Coast headquarters in Utah.
  • Amazon and Amazon Web Services announced expansions in Utah with hundreds of new jobs coming to our state.

Shop in Utah
The COVID-19 Impacted Businesses Grant Program, known as Shop In Utah, supports businesses and provides consumers discounts. Participating companies must give a discount or other offer to customers of at least 50 percent of the grant amount. View the Shop In Utah offers here.

Recently, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development launched the In Utah store offering custom hats, t-shirts and stickers all made in Utah. The new store is part of the Shop In Utah campaign. Learn more here.

Road to Recovery Dashboard
The Salt Lake Chamber’s Roadmap to Recovery Coalition, in partnership with the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, has released a new economic tool for businesses — the Road to Recovery Dashboard — to track the state’s path to economic recovery from the COVID-19 recession. Learn more here.

Startup Pitch Competition
The Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development, in partnership with the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute at the University of Utah, is encouraging businesses to apply for the 2020 Utah Economic and Energy Summit Startup Pitch competition. More information here.

National Parks
The National Park Service is offering free admission to its parks on Saturday, September 26, in honor of National Public Lands Day. More information here.

August’s adjusted unemployment rate is estimated at 4.1 percent, with approximately 66,100 Utahns unemployed. The national unemployment rate for August lowered from July’s 10.2 percent to 8.4 percent. Read more here.

Transfer of Ownership
Last Friday, the U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhart transferred ownership of two federal water facilities in Utah to local management. Read more here.

Vaccine Strategy
The Department of Human Services and the Department of Defense released two documents outlining the Administration’s strategy to deliver safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine doses to the public. Read more here.

In the News

Doctors see a 240 percent increase of COVID-19 cases in 15 to 24-year-olds since August 31
Utah health officials launch new campaign to get youth to avoid ‘Rona’
Parents, former teachers step up to fill substitute teacher shortage during pandemic
How is Utah’s economy recovering? New Salt Lake Chamber tool tracks improvement

I Look Forward to Hearing from You!

Connect with the Utah Senate for updates wherever you live on social media. We’re on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and all sorts of other sites. Feel free to visit our new website for updates, articles, and information: https://senate.utah.gov/.

I’ll try to continually keep you informed about my work on the Hill – likewise, please keep in touch – I’d love to hear your insights and opinions.

I can also be reached by email at ssandall@le.utah.gov. My mobile phone number is (435) 279-7551. You’re also welcome to join me at the Capitol.

If you’d like to meet with me in person during the interim or the legislative session, you can reach Jason Gould at jgould@le.utah.gov. He’ll help us get in touch.

I’m truly grateful for the opportunity you’ve given me to serve in this capacity. We live in a unique and special place. Thank you for all you do to make Utah the best state in the nation – and thanks for paying attention.

Until next time,

Scott Sandall
Senate District 17