Democratic candidate for Utah governor Chris Peterson and his lieutenant governor running mate Karina Brown are suspending all in-person campaign events as Utah’s COVID-19 cases soar. Over the past two weeks, Utah has set records in coronavirus case counts, positivity rates, and hospitalizations.
“From the outset, our campaign has been focused on protecting Utah families and Utah’s economy,” Peterson said. “Politicians have failed to keep Utahns safe with their patchwork pandemic response, leading to overrun hospitals, uncertainty in our public schools, and shuttered businesses across the state. Because of surging coronavirus numbers, we have made the responsible decision to suspend all in-person campaign events through Election Day. I hope that my opponent and other campaigns will join us in putting Utahns’ health and safety first during this critical time.”
On Sunday, October 25, Utah health officials reported a rolling 7-day average of 1,490 positive tests per day and a 16.6% positivity rate. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, “Utah now ranks sixth in the nation in cases per capita with a seven-day average of 44.4 per 100,000 residents.” This latest surge has also resulted in increased hospitalizations, now up to 308 on October 25. Hospitals are opening overflow ICU spaces and may soon begin rationing care as more patients are being admitted than can be properly cared for. State epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn has pleaded with the public to wear masks and socially distance for months. “I don’t know what to do anymore,” she said.
Since July, Peterson has consistently called for a smarter, more robust pandemic response plan. “The only thing that’s changed over the last three months is that there are now hundreds more Utahns sitting down to dinner with an empty seat because a loved one passed from COVID-19,” Peterson said. “The hard-working people of this state deserve so much better.”
Peterson and Brown will continue to campaign online through Election Day and plan to host a series of online events discussing key issues affecting Utahns.