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Governor issues executive order declaring a state of emergency in preparation for cases of novel coronavirus in Utah Utah COVID-19 Task Force submits unanimous recommendation for declaration
SALT LAKE CITY (March 6, 2020) – Earlier today, Gov. Gary R. Herbert issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency in response to the evolving outbreak of novel coronavirus.
“Our number one focus is preparing for the arrival of novel coronavirus,” Gov. Herbert said. “Issuing this declaration now allows us to take additional proactive steps that will make a big difference in how effectively we can respond once we start seeing COVID-19 diagnoses in Utah.”
The governor emphasized that the executive order is part of Utah’s preparedness plan and comes at the unanimous recommendation of the Utah COVID-19 Task Force. The task force is led by Lt. Governor Spencer J. Cox and includes public health officials and health representatives from the private sector, as well as business, education, and community leaders.
“While no one in Utah has yet tested positive for COVID-19, issuing this order now allows our state and communities to access additional funding and resources that will be instrumental in helping us prepare to slow the spread of coronavirus,” said Lt. Governor Cox.
Cox also noted that Utah’s neighboring states have announced their first cases of COVID-19.
In addition to recommending that Gov. Herbert declare a state of emergency, the task force discussed several other mitigation steps in their Friday morning meeting, including developing outreach plans to address vulnerable populations, identifying ways to increase capacity to test for COVID-19 and ensuring access to telehealth care for residents statewide. The state is also working together with partners in the private sector on a mass media public information campaign. More information on these efforts is forthcoming.
Notes: As of Friday, March 6th, Utah still has not had a confirmed case of COVID-19, excepting a single patient who contracted the virus outside the United States. He was transported to Utah for treatment at the request of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC does not classify him as a Utah case.
You can help stop the spread of novel coronavirus through simple prevention steps, including washing your hands thoroughly, disinfecting shared surfaces and covering your cough. If you have symptoms that match coronavirus, including a fever, cough, or shortness of breath, please contact your clinician via telephone or telemedicine, and stay away from public spaces, except to seek medical care.
More information available at https://coronavirus.utah.gov. Twitter: @UtahCoronavirus Facebook: @UtahCoronavirus
Declaring a State of Emergency Due to Infectious Disease COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus
WHEREAS, On January 21, 2020, the Utah Department of Health activated its Department Operations Center in response to the evolving the global outbreak of novel coronavirus;
WHEREAS, The Utah Department of Health recognizes COVID-19 as a threat to the health and safety of the residents of Utah;
WHEREAS, Although no confirmed cases have been diagnosed in the state, the Utah Department of Health, local health departments, and health and medical partners have activated response plans and protocols to prepare for the likely arrival of the virus in Utah;
WHEREAS, These partners have also worked to identify, contact, and test individuals in the State of Utah who have been potentially exposed to COVID-19 in coordination with the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC);
WHEREAS, Proactively implementing mitigation measures to slow the spread of the virus is in the best interests of the state of Utah and its people;
WHEREAS, COVID-19, a respiratory disease that can result in serious illness or death, is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is a new strain of coronavirus that had not been previously identified in humans and can easily spread from person to person;
WHEREAS, The CDC identifies the potential public health threat posed by COVID-19 both globally and in the United States as “high,” and has advised that person-to-person spread of COVID-19 will continue to occur globally, including within the United States;
WHEREAS, On January 31, 2020, the United States Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar declared a public health emergency for COVID-19, beginning on January 27, 2020;
WHEREAS, As of March 6, 2020, the CDC indicates there are over 100,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide, with over 200 of those cases in the United States;
WHEREAS, On February 28, 2020, the State Emergency Operations Center raised its activation level to Level 3 – Elevated Action and the Utah Division of Emergency Management and Department of Health activated a Joint Information System for public information;
WHEREAS, The Utah Department of Public Safety, Division of Emergency Management, State Emergency Operations Center, is coordinating resources across state government to support the Utah Department of Health and local officials in alleviating the impacts to people, property, and infrastructure, and is assessing the magnitude and long-term effects of the incident with the Utah Department of Health;
WHEREAS, The State of Utah has implemented the Utah COVID-19 Community Task Force to coordinate the response to the incident throughout the entire state and among all levels of government;
WHEREAS, the circumstances of this outbreak may exceed the capacity of the services, personnel, equipment, supplies and facilities of any single city, county, or city and county, and require the combined forces of a mutual aid region or regions to combat; and
WHEREAS, these conditions do create a “State of Emergency” within the intent of the Disaster Response and Recovery Act found in Title 53, Chapter 2a of the Utah Code Annotated 1953, as amended:
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gary R. Herbert, Governor of the State of Utah, declare a “State of Emergency” due to the aforesaid circumstances requiring aid, assistance, and relief available from State resources and hereby order:
The continued execution of the State Emergency Operations Plan;
Assistance from State government to political subdivisions as needed and coordinated by the Utah Department of Health, the Utah Department of Public Safety, and other state agencies as necessary;
The continued dissemination of timely and accurate information by state agencies to the public that will slow the spread of COVID-19, prevent unnecessary confusion and alarm, and mitigate impacts to the economy;
The continued outreach and assistance to the populations most vulnerable to COVID-19; and
Coordination with local authorities and the private sector to maximize access to appropriate medical care while preserving critical services for those most in need.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused to be affixed the Great Seal of the State of Utah. Done in Salt Lake City, Utah, on this, the 6th day of March, 2020.
Gary R. Herbert Governor, State of Utah
ATTEST: Spencer J. Cox Lieutenant Governor, State of Utah
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