Utah’s governor urges Trump to recommend face masks as states continue to see a coronavirus spike
FILE - In this April 15, 2020, file photo, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert wears a mask during a news conference at Salt Lake International Airport in Salt Lake City. Utah's Republican governor says on Monday, June 22, 2020 he will not shut down the economy even though he shares some of the concerns raised in a memo by the state's epidemiologist who warned a "complete shutdown" might be imminent if the state can't stop a prolonged spike of coronavirus cases. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
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Gov. Gary Herbert told Vice President Mike Pence on Monday that the administration could help Utah — and other states — get a handle on the increasing cases of COVID-19 by encouraging the public to wear face coverings. This conversation came on a day when Utah saw 564 new cases and reported another death.
The encouragement, Herbert’s office said Monday, was well received.
During Pence’s telephone call with a group of governors, Herbert suggested that Pence and President Donald Trump “can help us out” by offering a unifying message about masks. He did not ask for a national mandate.
Last week, Herbert gave Salt Lake and Summit counties permission to mandate masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. And he has regularly urged the public to wear them. But he has not made face coverings a statewide requirement.
ABC News reporter Katherine Faulder, who received a recording of the call, posted on Twitter that Herbert told the vice president that he recognized “some of the politics” of mask wearing and that many people oppose the “heavy hand of the government saying you will do this.”
A second tweet quoted Herbert as saying “if you love your neighbor you ought to show the respect necessary by wearing a mask” ... and not be shamed because some people consider that government overreach ... “that’s where I think you and the POTUS can help us out.”
Pence reportedly told the governors during the call “that people should wear masks where state and local authorities indicate it’s appropriate, or when social distancing is not possible.”
Pence said “that’ll be a very consistent message” going forward, ABC News reported.
The number of Utahns hospitalized with COVID-19 continues to rise, and another person has died.
The Utah Department of Health reported that 21,664 Utahns have now tested positive for COVID-19, up 564 from the day before. And 12,205 are considered “recovered” — that is they have survived for at least three weeks after being diagnosed.
For the past seven days, 10.9% of patients tested received positive results. That’s down slightly from the previous week, when the rate of positive tests was 12.5%.
A Davis County man, between the ages of 65 to 84, died while being treated for coronavirus in a hospital. He is the 168th Utahn to die of the disease.
There were 193 coronavirus patients filling Utah’s hospital beds on Monday, up one from Sunday; state health officials reported 21 new hospitalizations since Sunday, with 1,417 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 since the beginning of the outbreak.