Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Utah is gearing up for school to start in a few weeks. This can be a stressful time even in normal circumstances, but it is greatly compounded by the pandemic. As the school year approaches, now is the time for our state to unite and recommit to doing our part to fight COVID-19. Let us come together with a renewed determination to wear masks, social distance and do all we can to slow the spread of this virus.
This week we will also celebrate our state holiday, Pioneer Day. There are many pioneers in our state, from the earliest settlers to the most recent refugees who left everything behind to start anew in our state. I think all of them have a few things in common: grit, determination, and a willingness to work together to achieve a better life. Now is the time for all of us to embrace that pioneer spirit, by working together for a common goal to beat the virus and get back to living our lives. Just like pioneers, we can’t afford to let petty differences get in the way of our shared ideals.
State Data (as of July 20th)
Total Cases: 35,012
Total People Tested: 475,443
Total Hospitalizations: 2,109
Total Deaths: 251
Estimated Recovered: 22,032
Utah County Dept Health
Total Cases: 6,516
Total Tested: 84,087
Estimated Recovered: 4,100
The graph below shows Utah’s ICU capacity from May 1 through July 14.
The graph below shows Utah’s COVID-19 curve status from June 16 through July 14. While daily case counts are not the best indicator of risk to the state, they can provide important perspectives on trends. Data from last week shows that cases are plateauing and even beginning to decline, indicating our state is heading in the right direction. However, this does not mean we should ease up but continue our efforts to slow this virus.
Governor Herbert announced that Utah counties in the orange risk phase of the Utah Leads Together plan will be able to open and provide in-person instruction.
He also said that there are some exceptions to the mask requirement in K-12 schools. Those include when students are maintaining a distance of six feet or more when eating lunch and children younger than three who are on school campuses. Students who are deaf or hard of hearing and their educators will not be required to wear masks but should use clear face shields. Distance learning will also be made available for students wishing to participate.
To slow the spread of COVID-19, and as part of "A Mask for Every Utahn" initiative, the state will have masks available at Associated Food Stores, Smith's Food and Drug stores and other retail establishments throughout Utah. Grocery stores that serve vulnerable or underserved populations are being prioritized for mask distribution. Read more here and find stores here.
Stores that will now be requiring masks:
Walmart and Sam’s Club starting July 20
Kroger (includes Smith’s) starting July 22
Target starting August 1
Best Buy starting July 15
CVS starting July 20
Kohl’s starting July 20
The Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development launched a public information and education campaign, “In Utah,” to address Utahns’ health and wellness and encourage economic growth. ‘In Utah’ encourages Utahns to embrace healthy habits while practicing appropriate measures to slow the spread of COVID-19. It also encourages Utahns to shop, dine, stay, work, film and play, ‘In Utah.’ More information here.
Traditional unemployment insurance claims decreased .5 percent from the previous week to 4,828 claims. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claims decreased by .6 percent from the previous week to 1,493 claims. Pandemic Extended Unemployment Claims increased by 9.8 percent from the previous week to 985 claims. The total new claims for all three programs ended the week at 7,306 and the combined weekly claims for all three programs were at 90,066. Read the report here.
In the News
I Look Forward to Hearing From You!
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 be reached by email at email@example.com. You’re also welcome to join me at the Capitol and if you’d like to meet with me in person outside of interim or the legislative session, you can reach Jason Gould at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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,
Senator Dan McCay
Utah Senate District 11