Going Orange: Some things to consider
A letter from Cottonwood Heights Administrative Staff
The last two months are unlike any in our city’s history. Coronavirus concerns and the COVID-19 pandemic have changed the way we live our everyday lives. Businesses have shuttered, schools have closed their doors and thousands of people have been furloughed or lost their jobs. Times are challenging, to be certain. However, there are reassuring aspects of this crisis for our city and our state.
As Utah continues to face this pandemic, we have seen encouraging signs and plenty of reasons to be optimistic. An early model from the National Guard estimated that by mid-April, Utah would have 9,600 total cases of COVID-19, with 1,200 hospitalizations. Instead, by the week of April 16, the state recorded 2,542 cases and 221 hospitalizations.
"This is called flattening the curve and it shows that everything we are doing really is working," said Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, who leads the Utah Coronavirus Task Force. .
In Utah, our number of positive tests and hospitalizations, as well as mortality and transmission, are all trending in the right direction. There have been days with single spikes in positive test numbers. However, overall, our state has begun to flatten the curve and plateau our positive cases.
These numbers are encouraging, but we need people to continue to get tested. The state has the capacity to test 4,500 people per day, while the daily average has been less than half of that figure.
Utah health officials expanded testing guidelines in April. State health officials recommend anyone experiencing a fever, cough, shortness of breath, muscle aches, decreased sense of smell or taste, or sore throat to get tested. Rapid testing will only increase our ability to recover from this pandemic and jumpstart the economy. The more we can learn about the disease, the faster we will all be able to resume our lives.
As we've moved into May, we are optimistic about our move into the next phase of the “Utah Leads Together” recovery plan led by Cox. We are currently in the "Orange" phase of the plan. We still have closures of businesses and a stay-at-home directive from state officials, however many businesses are cautiously taking the first steps to opening their doors. We are being very deliberate. One such guideline is the avoidance of“super-spreader” events where large gatherings of people are enclosed for long periods of time.
Simply put, Orange is a moderate risk category. Yellow means low risk. And green indicates a new normal of risk where individuals can move about with full activity, but with a new caution toward COVID-19. Each level contains precautions that that both businesses and the general public need to take. “We’re about managing risk,” said Governor Gary Herbert. “There’s no belief that we can get to zero risk.”
Eventually, we will move from stabilization to recovery and life will begin to feel more normal again. This pandemic has changed the course of our history. We encourage all our residents to heed the advice of state and county leaders. Get tested, keep following social distancing recommendations, and as our businesses open their doors, get out and appreciate the services they provide.
Together we will get through this.