Gov. Spencer Cox lauded Utah businesses for assisting the state in responding to the deadly coronavirus pandemic at a news conference at dōTERRA’s massive fulfillment center in Lindon on Monday.
Cox was at dōTERRA to ceremonially accept a donation of 1 million alcohol sanitizing wipes from the company, which will be provided to school districts across the Beehive State. He added that Utah leads the country in volunteerism and charitable giving.
“We have a culture here of giving back, of trying to make the community a better place,” the governor told a group of dōTERRA employees and members of the press.
Founding executive Emily Wright said dōTERRA, which calls itself an “integrative health and wellness company,” was looking for ways to “give back to our schools, to our children, to the next generation.”
“The Utah State Department of Health recognizes sanitizing and disinfecting as key elements in the battle against COVID and this donation from dōTERRA allows schools to keep more of their focus on teaching and learning,” Utah State Board of Education public relations director Mark Peterson told The Salt Lake Tribune in an email.
Eighteen months into the coronavirus pandemic, Cox said government’s current role in the pandemic response is twofold: provide materials and testing to school districts.
As Utah’s classroom doors opened this year, the governor said the state government provided schools with one million “high quality” N95 and KN95 masks. The state has also created 10 testing response teams, Cox said, that are able to deploy to schools that reach a Test To Stay threshold and identify which students have become infected with COVID-19.
The governor said the state is finding that “about 2 to 3%” of students the state tests at Test To Stay districts are coming up positive for COVID-19. Cox said the testing allows the students to be removed from the classroom and for the schools to remain open without further spread of the virus.
The Utah Department of Health reported Monday that 640 new COVID-19 cases were of children in grades K-12, representing about 20% of the state’s total new cases.
When asked about the potential for statewide mask mandate for schools, the governor said the legislature would have to approve such a rule, and that lawmakers were unwilling to do so.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the likelihood of becoming infected with COVID-19 after touching a coronavirus contaminated surface is “low.” The agency also says regular hand washing is “the most reliable way to prevent infection.”
Last April dōTERRA was warned by the Federal Trade Commission to stop marketing its products as a cure or preventive for coronavirus.