House Democrats call on Gov. Herbert to issue statewide stay at home order

Coronavirus 05

On Monday, Utah House Democrats called on Gov. Gary Herbert to issue a mandatory stay-at-home order for the entire state as a response to the coronavirus pandemic. As of Monday, Utah remained one of eight states without a statewide order.

In a statement, the House Democrats as a caucus said the statewide order is needed to continue to slow the spread of the virus. So far, Herbert has only issued a directive for Utahns to stay at home as much as possible.

“We know this pandemic will likely kill hundreds or thousands of people in our state. We do not believe that the current voluntary Stay-Safe-Stay-Home program is as effective in slowing the spread of this virus as an explicit stay-at-home order,” said the group in an email.

As of Monday, Utah reported 1,675 cases of COVID-19 and 13 deaths. 

Utah’s rate of new cases is increasing slower than initially projected, which has led to a lower possible death toll from the virus, if current social distancing guidelines are followed. The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics revised their projection for the number of deaths in Utah downward based on the slow growth in new cases in the state. As of Monday, the group says Utah could see anywhere between 100 and 316 deaths by August 4 from COVID-19. Their model projects 186 deaths by that date, with Utah’s peak number of cases coming in late April.

Despite those rosy projections, House Democrats believe more drastic action is needed.

“The public health community is telling us that more aggressive action in the form of a public order for people in non-essential activities to stay home is the most effective way of reducing the rate of the spread of the infection. Staying at home will also give Utah a quicker and more robust economic recovery.  But most importantly, a Stay-At-Home order will save the lives of Utahns,” they said.