Editor’s note: The Salt Lake Tribune is providing free access to critical stories about the coronavirus. Sign up for our Top Stories newsletter, sent to your inbox every morning. To support journalism like this, please donate or become a subscriber.
People working in or visiting city buildings in Salt Lake City are being told to start wearing masks again, as the summer surge of COVID-19 continues.
Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall signed an executive order Wednesday that requires city employees — vaccinated or unvaccinated — and visitors to wear face coverings when inside city facilities. Employees must also mask up when riding in city-owned vehicles, or “acting within the scope of city employment indoors.”
Mendenhall’s order came as the state of Utah’s daily count of new COVID-19 cases topped 800 for the second Wednesday in a row.
The Utah Department of Health reported Wednesday that another 843 Utahns were diagnosed with COVID-19, and six more Utahns have died from the disease.
Also Wednesday, the number of doses of COVID-19 vaccine given out went over the 3 million mark, UDOH reported.
Mendenhall cited new guidance issued Tuesday by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, urging vaccinated people to go back to wearing masks indoors.
“As a City we’ve always looked to the CDC and our health experts to guide our actions against the spread of COVID-19, and today is no different,” Mendenhall said in a statement.
Also Wednesday, Utah Supreme Court Chief Justice Matthew B. Durrant issued an administrative order saying that all Utah court employees and visitors will have to start wearing masks in the courthouse starting Friday.
Durrant’s order covers courts in counties that are listed as “moderate” and “high” on the UDOH’s virus transmission index — which include most of the state’s major population centers.
As of Wednesday, counties in the “high” transmission range are: Box Elder, Iron, Juab, Sevier, Uintah, Utah and Washington counties.
Counties in the “moderate” categories are: Cache, Carbon, Davis, Duchesne, Millard, Morgan, Salt Lake, San Juan, Sanpete, Summit, Tooele, Wasatch and Weber.
Counties in the “low” transmission category, most of them in rural Utah, are: Beaver, Daggett, Emery, Garfield, Grand, Kane, Piute, Rich and Wayne.
Vaccinations reported in past day/total vaccinations • 6,578 / 3,001,472.
Cases reported in past day • 843.
Deaths reported in past day • Six.
Two of them were women between 45 and 64, one from Salt Lake County, the other from Weber County.
The other four were between 65 and 84: A Kane County woman; a Salt Lake County woman; and two Uintah County men.
Hospitalizations reported in past day • 350. That’s 12 more than on Tuesday. Of those currently hospitalized, 157 are in intensive care units — seven more than on Tuesday.
Tests reported in past day • 6,834 people were tested for the first time. A total of 11,602 people were tested.
Percentage of positive tests • Under the state’s original method, the rate is 12.3%. That’s lower than the seven-day average of 14.4%.
The state’s new method counts all test results, including repeated tests of the same individual. Tuesday’s rate was 7.3%, lower than the seven-day average of 10.2%
Totals to date • 430,143 cases; 2,447 deaths; 18,476 hospitalizations; 5,290,078 tests.
This story is developing and will be updated.