Apr 30, 2020

Gary Herbert Utah Coronavirus Press Conference Transcript April 30

Utah Press Conference April 30
RevBlogTranscriptsPress Conference TranscriptsGary Herbert Utah Coronavirus Press Conference Transcript April 30

Utah Governor Gary Herbert held a COVID-19 press conference today, April 30. Read the full transcript of his updates.

 

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Gary Herbert: (00:19)
Good afternoon everyone. As always, we thank you for being here and participating. We appreciate those who are watching and listening to our briefing today as we continue with our quest to fight this coronavirus. Thanks to the media for helping us to get the messages and the words out to our people of Utah.

Gary Herbert: (00:41)
Let me just make a couple of, if I could, maybe some quick observations that would be warranted today. I’ve, certainly am aware that we’ve had some crowding issues at our Department of Motor Vehicles. They’ve had their lobbies closed, and so it’s been a little bit difficult for people to get in there and renew their registration for their automobiles and those kinds of things at the DMV. Accordingly, today, I’ve issued an executive order which will temporarily suspend enforcement of statutes for some expiring vehicle registrations through May 15th. This will give you time to adjust as giving time for the Department of Motor Vehicles to adjust too by opening up their lobbies.

Gary Herbert: (01:26)
This is really a time-limited leniency period. We have a new not only opening, but new appointment-only protocol registration system where you can, in fact, go there and have an appointment to be helped personally. Some of this can be done online still, and we certainly recommend that as a alternative, but this order is in effect immediately.

Gary Herbert: (01:53)
We also know that the Utah Division of Motor Vehicles has announced plans to reopen five of their Wasatch Front DMV sites here along the Wasatch Front, and those lobbies will be open, again, by appointment only beginning tomorrow, May 1st. Also, by note, the Hurricane DMV office down south is going to be reopened tomorrow with some limited access. Again, trying to make it more convenient, and we’re giving you some extra time as we go through this pandemic. If you have any questions and you want to schedule an appointment, you can go to dmv.utah.gov, dmv.utah.gov.

Gary Herbert: (02:39)
Obviously, you’d be expected to show up in the lobby and practice social distancing. We’d like you to wear a mask when you come into the office. The employees will be wearing masks, again, as we practice a good hygiene and safe social distance habits as we open up our lobbies. Again, for complete information, please go to dmv.utah.gov. With that, my new fashion statement along with my mask is that I’m wearing an orange tie today to symbolize the fact that just one minute past midnight tonight as we go into May 1st that we are in fact moving from red to orange, going from high risk to moderate risk. It symbolize a number of things, one is that we’re making progress, we’re moving forward. There should be a reason for us all to be hopeful, optimistic, that we continue to implement our plan, that we’ll get through not only stabilization, but soon into recovery.

Gary Herbert: (03:39)
Again, the second thing I observe is that we have a lot of people that are doing their best to, in fact, help, not only do the healthy things for themselves personally, but they’re concerned about making sure that they do healthy things for those acquaintances, friends, relatives, those outside themselves, again, the wearing the mask is an example of that. Not only does it help protect yourself, but it really does a lot to help protect those that you may encounter and protect them from catching something that you may have.

Gary Herbert: (04:12)
We appreciate the diligence of our citizens here in Utah that have given us time to build the reduction and the plateauing that we see in the COVID-19 virus spread and give us time to build up our supplies necessary for our hospitals, for personal protective equipment, to make sure that we have bed space available, ICU particularly, ventilators, those kinds of things so that we don’t… if we happen to have a surge of the coronavirus that we don’t overwhelm the healthcare system. That’s really thanks to the good work of so many people in Utah by following the directories of good health conscious activities under this unique circumstance. Let me also mention too, it’s worth repeating that although we’re going from high risk to moderate risk, for some of our vulnerable populations, we’re still at high risk for them, and that high risk category for those who are older, those that have immunocompromised systems, respiratory ailments, underlying healthcare issues, you still need to be extra cautious, and for those who take care of those folks, they need to be extra cautious too to make sure that they don’t bring them the virus and spread it to those who are most vulnerable.

Gary Herbert: (05:34)
Again, under moderate risk, we still are encouraged to continue to do things, but we’ve been doing it. This is maybe a renewed emphasis to do that as we now start to interface more with people in the public square, again, wearing mask and making sure we wash our hands and have a proper hygiene, that we’re still avoiding handshaking with people and do those things which we’ve been doing for the last couple of months really will continue. We should say even though we have expanded opportunity to travel, you still ought to be careful as you travel in where you go and what you do. This is no time for us to relax. This is to enjoy some of the opening the stay in place, but still be careful.

Gary Herbert: (06:18)
Now, let me just mention in closing on this part, what actually changes tonight at midnight. Well, you can begin to, once again, gathering small groups of up to 20 with family and friends. We would hope that those family and friends practice the appropriate protocols, that they don’t have fevers, they don’t have symptoms as they gather with your group, but you are able now to gather with groups of up to 20. Establishments that have been closed in the past by public health orders, including gyms, salons, other personal care establishments, bars are permitted to resume operations under strict, again guidelines. If you have any questions about that, please contact your local health department. They’ll help guide you through the plans and the protocols to help you get open and start serving your customers once again.

Gary Herbert: (07:15)
Dine-in options are permitted at restaurants that exercise strict precautions, again, detailed in the plan, and once again, we can go into our restaurants with some limited access with the appropriate protocols. We’d encourage not only the employees to be wearing masks, but we ought to wear mask into these establishments, so obviously take them off when we’re eating. There needs to be a spacing between the tables and between the customers so that we, again, practice appropriate social distancing defined as six feet. You can learn more about this, again, by going to coronavirus.utah.gov, coronavirus.utah.gov and look at the plan.

Gary Herbert: (07:56)
Another thing that’s changing or will change is our daily briefings. We think we’re to this point now where we’re moving out of high risk to more moderate risk as we transition into stabilization. Probably not going to be a need to have the daily briefings that we’ve had in the past. Dr. Dunn will continue to come and give us statistics and information as our expert in this regard and our epidemiologist. She and other state officials will visit with you probably around three times a week as opposed to every day, answering questions at the same time too. I will continue to be involved in briefings at least probably once a week or as necessary, so we’ll still stay in touch and in contact, but we’ll do it not quite as regularly as we’ve done in the past as we now move into a better situation here in the state.

Gary Herbert: (08:53)
Also, I think what should change is probably our countenance. Our attitude, our hope for the future should be positive. We see we’ve done good things. We worked hard together, and we see the fruits of our labor as we move forward so we can have confidence in the communities that we live in throughout the state. They are all respectively doing the right things. We’re now well-prepared to test and to trace and to track those who have the COVID-19 virus, and we can be ready to target any potential outbreaks that may occur in the future. We’re well-prepared to respond to any kind of a surge like that, and that should give us some confidence and hope going forward too. We all know that doing the little things makes a difference. I know there’s sometimes an attitude that, “Well, that’s for everybody but me,” but all of us working together makes a significant big difference, and that’s really what’s helped Utah be really at the front of the pack of states when it comes to turning the corner on this pandemic.

Gary Herbert: (09:59)
We know that it’s working. The data shows us that, and we are being guided by science and data and medical advice, not by politics and not by fear, not by some date, some artificial date that we feel like we need to do something. The data is what is informing us on what we should do, and I appreciate the fact that the people Utah have been diligent and dedicated in trying to follow those protocols. Frankly, everybody’s learning how to adapt, and we’re learning how to innovate and find other ways to do things. Also, with that, we’re able to overcome the challenge that we’re facing today as a state.

Gary Herbert: (10:41)
It’s working. We expect to have a continuation of that effort. Again, I’m pleased that we’re moving now into our more stabilization phase. We still have a ways to go to get that completed, but because we’re all working together, it is working, so stay safe and stay strong. With that, we’ll go to questions now-

Gary Herbert: (11:03)
… at this time, and we’ll do a little more Q and A today.

Ben: (11:13)
Governor, do you have any concerns that people this weekend with these new way of being able to do more things that you might see a resurgence in cases? People might go a little nuts?

Gary Herbert: (11:25)
Well, we’re going to watch very closely, Ben. It certainly is a concern. I’m not overly concerned. I see what we’ve done these last two months with everybody kind of collaborating and working together and following good direction. I think people understand for their own self best interest health, and for their loved ones and for their friends and people that they don’t care… or don’t know about, they still do care about. And so I think people are willing to in fact do the right thing in the right way.

Gary Herbert: (11:56)
But we will in fact monitor the data, and we’re going to watch closely. We think there’s a couple of areas that might have some hotspot possibilities. We would hope that the local communities will address those issues. We’ll work with them very closely because we want to go from red to orange and not have to go from orange to red, but if that is required we will do that, but we’ll try to do that in a very targeted way. So I’m very cautiously optimistic, though as we have seen in the past. That kind of trend will continue and in a few weeks hence we’ll be able to get into the yellow, certainly in some parts of the state.

Ben: (12:36)
Governor, have you been approached by any communities to move automatically to yellow?

Gary Herbert: (12:41)
I have heard about requests, I have not seen requests or nobody’s talk with me personally on the telephone or sent me an email or a text, but I think there are areas, as I mentioned here the other day, some of the data would indicate that some areas are pretty well ready to go into a yellow. We have five counties that have no incidents of COVID-19 in their community that we know of, and so we certainly have a respect for regional differences and different data. As I’ve said time and time again, we’re not really a one size fits all approach on this thing. But again, if requests come in, and I expect that they will, we’ll take a look at those requests and see if variances are warranted. I expect we’ll all be kind of under the orange code for the next two weeks.

Speaker 1: (13:36)
Hi governor. One of the head winds of getting people back to work is that a lot of people are making more money on unemployment due to the government, $600 per week BOP, and I was wondering if there’s been any discussion in the round table with the president about that. And along that note also because of the state of the economy, it’s very easy to imagine that a lot of people when they get any type of money, they’re hesitant to spend it, and that hesitancy and spending leads to a prolonged depressed economy. And I’m wondering if there’s been any talk about some of the unemployment being issued in like a gift card that would need to be spent in a certain amount of time in hopes of kick-starting the economy?

Speaker 1: (14:23)
And then lastly, we’ve had a lot of food processing plants shut down due to sickness, and I’m sure a lot of those plants have older workers that are vulnerable. And I’m wondering if there’s been any discussion and again in your president’s round table if they’ve considered doing a drafting young people that are unemployed that even if they got coronavirus they wouldn’t be susceptible to the drastic symptoms, and they could work in those plants to keep them going.

Gary Herbert: (14:53)
Well thank you. You’ve given a lot to consider there. And the idea of having a card that you use to spend money that has to be used in an appropriate way may have some merit to it. That has not been talked about, at least at my level with the governors are with the president, the vice president in any conversations I’ve had over the last few weeks. There is a concern about the shortage of food, particularly when it comes to animal and milk products. Our farmers, ranchers, are concerned about that. Our department of agricultural here in Utah is working with our farmers to see what we can do to make sure that food isn’t being wasted. A concern to me is if we have milk being dumped down the drain, or if we’re needed needlessly slaughtering cattle because we can’t sell the cattle and get meat that’s necessary there to distribute.

Gary Herbert: (15:47)
There are ways to do that I think are better to help food banks help those who are less able to get food so that there’s not any food insecurity. We ought not to waste it, even if we have to help other people outside of not only our state but outside of our country. And I know that’s a top of mind issue for our agricultural folks and so I think here in Utah we’re addressing that pretty well.

Gary Herbert: (16:13)
The other issue you mentioned, I have talked with our congressional delegation about the Cares Act and the increase in funds for unemployment insurance. And like many things in politics and with legislation in order to get an agreement there’s give and take that takes place, and I know that particularly the Democrats want to make sure that there’s enough money being given to those who are unemployed. The Republican side seem to be more concerned about making sure that we give money to businesses so they can keep employing people, and they’re both trying to get to the same place to make sure that people are taken care of and they’re not just a statistic, but we’re caring for those and their families. I like the idea of keeping the businesses afloat, keeping people employed and paying them for the work they do as opposed to the unemployment insurance.

Gary Herbert: (17:07)
It was brought up, I remember talking to Senator Romney about this very thing and we said, “What’s going to be the unintended consequences of an additional $600 per week added to your typical unemployment insurance stipend?” And we all thought people are going to probably be reluctant to go back to work. I guess that remains to be seen. We’ll have to wait and see what takes place, but it doesn’t take probably a lot of rocket science to figure if you’re making more money on unemployment, then maybe not quite as desperate to go back to work, and we see some of that showing up and we’ll just have to live through that. Again, I think most people want to work. I think they like to go and show up and do their job and not feel like they’re on the government dole. I think that’s human nature, frankly, so there is some concern about that has been talked about. I don’t think there’s any change in that right now, by the way, but maybe any new offerings that come out in the future that would be taken into consideration.

Gary Herbert: (18:10)
But by and large, I think things have worked pretty well. I’m a little concerned about some of the loans that have been given or not given under the Care Act. There seems to be… and of course when you’re thinking about $2.2 trillion, there’s some concerns that maybe things are not always on the up and up, and things get maybe put together too fast and not correctly. So that being said, I think Utah specifically, we’re in a great place. 70% of the people that we have on unemployment right now appear to be furloughed, which means when we get this economy going again, they have a job to go back to.

Gary Herbert: (18:51)
And so I think that our lows on unemployment or highs, I guess, on employment rate will be lower than many of the other States. And I am here to predict that we’ll recover quicker and faster and healthier. We have a more diverse economy. The things that made us the best state for economic growth the past 10 years, those principles and policies are still in place. And the fact that we have such a diverse economy allows us I think to recover quicker and better than most of the other state in America.

Speaker 1: (19:23)
Thank you.

Speaker 2: (19:30)
Thank you, governor. Are there any plans to institute reviews or something else to make sure that the testutah.com results are providing reliable data?

Gary Herbert: (19:42)
Yes. Our folks, Nate Checketts and our Public Health Department, along with General Burton and Commissioner Jess Anderson public safety, are concentrating their efforts to make sure that we, one, have testing available and we’ve expanded the testing opportunities in a significant way with over 50 different locations around the state. The testutah has done a lot of assessments, many more assessments, meaning people go through it and answer questions about whether they have symptoms and if they do then they’re directed to go get a test.

Gary Herbert: (20:18)
At testutah, they’ve been a little more liberal, a little more lenient in what they ask. We’ve pretty well as a state want you to have at least a symptom and then go get tested. The testutah’s had a bunch of assessments made where people didn’t have assessments but they had them to go get tested anyway. So we’re trying to reconcile those to make sure that we have on the same page our questions, our assessments and the numbers of people that are going to be invited to be tested and the results. Now our test results are down to about 4.2% of those we test show a positive reaction to COVID-19, but they’re kind of self-selecting. They’re people that have generally some kind of symptoms, so that’s a concern to make sure we reconcile so we understand the data is accurate as you suggested, and help guide us and as we develop policy. But I feel good about the direction we’re going and we’re refining as we go.

Soni: (21:26)
Hi governor, I wanted to get your reaction to some data. One of the main, sorry… One of the main metrics that you guys have been using about moving from red to orange has been an increased rate of less than 5%, and if you break it down by race, only people who identify as white or Asian are below that 5% rate. So I just wanted to get your response to the kind of variation in those rate increases across different races.

Gary Herbert: (22:01)
Well, thank you, [Soni 00:11:02].

Gary Herbert: (22:03)
I’m sure that the COVID virus doesn’t care about anybody’s race or ethnicity or color of skin. But there are probably some external issues out there that need to be addressed and at least looked into to see if we can affect help those in our minority community to not have a higher rate of infection. That’s why we formed here just what, 10 days ago, our multicultural committee, subcommittee of our task force to in fact address those things. And we do find that there are some reasons for that. Sometimes we have a community that’s very close knit, different parts of town which may be a higher percentage of Latino, Hispanic, Pacific Islander and they’re very social in their gatherings and they’re getting together and maybe have had more close contact in some other neighborhoods around the state.

Gary Herbert: (22:59)
Some of them because of their economic situation really need to go to work and want to go to work, and maybe are pushing the envelope when they go to work and then consequently maybe are exposed to the coronavirus and come back to their close knit community and families which tend to be larger and spread the virus there, maybe at a higher rate. So we’re concerned about that. That’s why we again, have this multicultural committee, part of our task force to look into that, see what we can do to help. We may want to take into some of our neighborhoods. I’m thinking of one down in Utah County that we may need to take in more testing opportunities there as we have drive-in opportunities and take them to neighborhoods and see if we do better testing.

Gary Herbert: (23:46)
And again, that could help us with tracking and tracing of those contacts, which will help us slow the spread in those neighborhoods. All right, we’ll go to one more question.

Speaker 4: (24:05)
Sorry. Hi governor. I want to ask another question about businesses reopening and unemployment. I’m sorry, the Department of Workforce warned today that people who get suitable offers should return to work, otherwise, they risk losing their benefits. Some labor groups around the country have worried that that could force people with pre-existing health conditions to have to go back and be at risk. Do you think the unemployment rules in the state should be altered to address this kind of situation?

Gary Herbert: (24:35)
We have altered that here just recently a little bit in saying that you don’t have to wait a week. Normally, you’d have to wait a week after you’re laid off to be eligible for unemployment insurance. So we’ve taken away that waiting period to help people get assistance as soon as possible. Whether there’s other tweaks that need to be made, that certainly is something that could be considered. I think by and large, our unemployment insurance has been pretty robust, again, with the addition of the federal monies. I think people should be required to see if they can find ways in fact, to work. We know that there are challenges out there that are unique to this time. We’re learning as we go. This has not ever happened before and so this is a lot of experimentation and learning as we go and trying to refine and improve as we make mistakes or stumbled along the way. We’ve improved dramatically since we started here just a couple of months ago. I expect that will happen as we go forward in the next couple of months. I will continue to have conversations with the president and the vice president twice a week. We have once a week conversations with the other governors around the state as we compare notes with each other and see what’s working in your state, what’s not working and we learn from those successes and those that are not so successful. We fortunately have been one of the more successful states. We have a lot of other governors asking us, “How did you do it? What are you doing? Can we see your plan?” We have a lot of people looking to Utah as a very successful state. We’re not just a small population, we’re kind of in the middle and we’re having great success in our state.

Gary Herbert: (26:16)
That’s a tribute to the people and those who have stepped forward. I mean, people are raising their hands and saying, what can I do to help, get involved? Public, private partnerships have been dramatic here in the state of Utah and it’s serving us very well, which is really Utah. It’s the Utah way and we’re succeeding dramatically, so I expect as we continue to go forward, we’re going to do great things. I’m very optimistic. This is a red letter day. No, it’s an orange letter day as we move forward here towards stabilization and then round the corner, recovery. Thank you very much.

Dr. Angela Dunn: (27:14)
Okay, good afternoon. We now have 4,672 cases of COVID-19 here in Utah. That is an increase of 177 from yesterday, which is a 4% growth rate. We’ve tested over 108,000 Utahns for COVID-19, an increase of 2,723 from yesterday and we’re still at about a 4.2, 4.3% positive rate. We did increase our number of hospitalizations by seven yesterday. So for the entire outbreak, 390 people have been hospitalized due to COVID-19 in the state of Utah and we now have 46 confirmed deaths due to COVID-19. That’s an increase of one from yesterday. The new death was in a 60 year old male from Salt Lake County. He was not part of a longterm care facility outbreak and we’re working with the Salt Lake County health department to figure out more information on that.

Dr. Angela Dunn: (28:11)
So part of our strategy for ensuring we safely move to open up certain parts of our economy and society is to be able to really identify and respond to outbreaks and hotspots throughout the state. And so to do this, we’re developing strike teams to specifically address outbreaks in longterm care facilities and community hotspots. These teams will consist of mobile testing teams, investigators to identify the exposure and then support services to ensure that those who need to isolate and quarantine are able to do so. So this strategy will help us continue to control the spread of COVID-19 as we move to opening up more parts of our economy and society. Okay, thank you. And with that, I’ll take some questions.

Speaker 5: (29:08)
The number on the latest number of downloads for the Healthy Together app?

Dr. Angela Dunn: (29:13)
So I’m not sure of the exact number. I think it’s around 45,000 at this point.

Speaker 5: (29:19)
Okay, thank you.

Dr. Angela Dunn: (29:21)
It was higher than that? Oh, sorry. I was really wrong. We’re getting breaking information here. 76,000 downloads of the Healthy Together app.

Speaker 5: (29:30)
76, 000.

Dr. Angela Dunn: (29:36)
We’ll follow up with you on the exact number, sorry.

Speaker 6: (29:46)
Okay. Hi, Dr.Dunn. Chris Reed, St. George News. Concerning this being the day we move from red to orange, the governor alluded to the worry about having to go back from orange to red at some point possibly. What is the risk of that? What is the risk that this could be a mission accomplished moment and we’re going right back to where we were at this point?

Dr. Angela Dunn: (30:12)
Yeah. So as we move to reopen parts of economy and society and move from red to orange, we’re relying on all Utahns to continue to adhere to social distancing practices when they’re able to, to wear a mask when social distancing is not possible and to really follow the guidelines that are set forth by the Utah Leads 2.0 plan. So it is going to be a statewide effort and everybody needs to take responsibility for preventing the spread. So that means continuing good hand hygiene, staying home if you can and definitely staying home if you are ill. These will ensure that we can continue to reopen parts of society and also prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Utah.

Speaker 6: (30:53)
As a follow up, what lessons were learned during this process that looking back as we looked at the red phase, what lessons did we learn? What did we do right? What did we do wrong?

Dr. Angela Dunn: (31:08)
Sure. So I think a huge reason why we are able to right now move from red to orange is our increased testing capacity. So we have the ability in Utah to test anybody with the most mild of symptoms for COVID-19 and that gives us a lot of confidence that we’re able to readily identify any positive case and respond to it really quickly. That also goes hand in hand with our contact tracing teams. So because we built up the capacity for both testing and contact tracing, that gives us a lot of confidence to move forward and start the slow rollout.

Speaker 6: (31:41)
Thank you.

Speaker 7: (31:47)
Hi, Dr. Dunn. [inaudible 00:31:49] with KUTV. Thanks again for all of your hard work during this pandemic. I’d like to ask you briefly about these hotspots and the strike teams, if there’s a little bit more information. Have we identified any hotspots yet throughout the state? Do we know where those are? And then with respect to the teams, the investigative teams, will these be made up of volunteers? Will they be health experts? If you could tell a little bit more if we know anything about that right now.

Dr. Angela Dunn: (32:16)
Sure. So identifying hotspots is something we’ve done from the beginning of this outbreak. It’s bread and butter, public health in terms of responding to any infectious disease outbreak. For example, at the beginning, we knew that Summit County was a hotspot and that’s where all of the cases were at the initial part of this. Now we have certain neighborhoods in both Utah County and Salt Lake County that have high rates of infection, and we’re working with those local health departments to understand why and respond and stop the spread. The strike teams will be made up of state employees, both a mix of logistics experts, medical experts and epidemiologists both at the state and local levels so that we can appropriately respond to any of the hotspots.

Speaker 7: (32:55)
Just a quick followup, do you know how many people total will make up all of these strike teams? I have to imagine that’s going to be a pretty big undertaking.

Speaker 7: (33:03)
And then can you say specifically right now which parts of Utah County and Salt Lake County are being identified as hotspots?

Dr. Angela Dunn: (33:10)
Sure. The strike teams are in development right now, so I don’t have specific numbers for you, and we’ll leave it to the local health jurisdictions to identify those specific neighborhoods. We’re working with them all the time to address those issues.

Speaker 7: (33:25)
Okay, thank you.

Jacob Flopfenstein: (33:32)
Hi, Dr. Dunn. This is Jacob Klopfenstein with ksl.com. A couple of questions. First of all, I wanted to ask do you have a breakdown of the cases of COVID-19 in Utah, a breakdown of which ones are attributable to community spread versus catching it from a family member, a friend or a known person. Then second of all, I wanted to ask about mask usage. For some of the people who are heading back to work as we’re opening up the economy, is it appropriate for them to wear the same mask throughout their entire eight-hour shift, or should they maybe switch out every once in a while. Then for the masks the state is distributing, do you know how long they’ll last?

Dr. Angela Dunn: (34:21)
Sure. For your first question about exposure rates, it is something we track. Community spread is basically when we can’t identify exactly where someone has got COVID-19. Ever since we started social distancing, that number has dropped, and the number of household transmission has increased. We’re still at about 10-15% for community transmission, and then the vast majority are our known contacts, so somebody can identify a positive confirmed case who they came into close contact with, and that’s the assumed exposure of how the individual got COVID-19.

Dr. Angela Dunn: (34:55)
In terms of masks and employment or face coverings and employment, a lot of that’s going to depend on the type of job someone does and the type of industry, so we’re working with CDC and our industries here and employers here in Utah to make sure they have all the information they need to provide to their employees so that they stay safe. That’s definitely dependent on the specific situations. There’s a lot we don’t know about the efficacy of face coverings, especially with multiple uses and washing. It is recommended that you wash them daily, and then in terms of how well they’re protecting. Again, they’re meant to serve as an additional barrier if social distancing isn’t possible to prevent your germs from getting on someone else, so it’s not protecting the mask wearer, it’s protecting other people. Any barrier will be a help, and that’s why we’re encouraging Utahns to wear them when they can’t socially distance.

Speaker 9: (35:57)
Yeah, Dr. Dunn. We’ve talked a lot about businesses, and there’ve been a lot of emphasis on what it will be take to get these businesses back open. Can you hit on just some of the expectations about social life as we move to orange? Just things like barbecues and game nights and family dinners and Mother’s Day. Is this something where we can start getting together in our households? Is the 20 just for business? In terms of those groups, what does it look like inside of a house or a neighborhood?

Dr. Angela Dunn: (36:24)
Yeah, so the same principles apply. If you are going to have a social gathering, it’s important that nobody’s symptomatic. It’s important that you keep the gathering as small as possible and ensure that no one has been sick or been around anyone who’s been sick with respiratory symptoms to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The same principles that we’ve been talking about with employers and businesses is going to translate to the social setting as well, just making sure that you’re maintaining social distance, especially if you feel ill or have been around someone who’s ill.

Speaker 9: (36:57)
So just for the people, the large family that wants to get together that it hasn’t for the last several weeks, are they clear to do that in the confines of their house, or are you still telling them wait if you can?

Dr. Angela Dunn: (37:11)
Again, this is something that everybody’s going to have to figure out the level of risk that they’re willing to take. If people haven’t been around anyone that is sick with a respiratory virus and they’re not ill themselves, the risk is quite small at this point. Hand hygiene is still very important and staying home if you’re ill, so those families, something really important to remember is those families who have members that are in the vulnerable population, over 65, underlying medical conditions, those family members should still definitely maintain social distancing and stay home when possible, because we certainly don’t want to risk getting anyone else who is more likely to have severe disease. But for the rest of the family, maintaining good hygiene and staying home I feel are the principles to abide by.

Speaker 9: (37:58)
Thank you.

Speaker 10: (38:05)
Thanks, Dr. Dunn. I’d like to ask just one more question about the strike teams, and that is are they going to have even more specialized teams to go into communities where English is not necessarily that the first language? I’m also wondering specifically how this might work down around the Navajo Nation, the Utah side of the Navajo Nation. Is there a specific strike team that could go down there to help the Navajo Nation try to get a grip on its pandemic?

Dr. Angela Dunn: (38:36)
Yeah, absolutely. Whenever we are going to be in need of a strike team, we’re going to make sure that there’s members of the community we’re serving that are able to influence the composition of that, and we’re certainly looking at alternate languages, non-English speaking. We’re working with the Department of Health and our community members to embed some community health workers into that structure, and then it’ll be similar with the Navajo Nation in terms of ensuring that we’re collaborating and working directly with members of that community when or if we do have to do an investigation there.

Ben Winslow: (39:15)
Dr. Dunn, Ben Winslow with Fox 13. Just given your experience with infectious diseases, how likely is it people are going to continue to follow these guidelines when we start loosening restrictions?

Dr. Angela Dunn: (39:28)
Yeah, I think we’ve done an excellent job up until now. We haven’t had a lot of legal restrictions throughout the state, so I think a lot of the success in our slowing of the spread is due to individuals recognizing that there is a risk and adhering to social distancing on their own, and we expect them to continue doing so. So I have confidence that, moving forward, Utahns will still understand the risk and maintain social distancing when possible, while still striking that balance with opening up the economy. Yeah. Okay. Thank you so much.

Speaker 11: (40:10)
Thank you for joining us. We’ll be back tomorrow at 1:30 with Dr. Angela Dunn. Thank you.