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Utah increases coronavirus restrictions amid rising cases

Utah increases coronavirus restrictions amid rising cases
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Utah on Tuesday unveiled new plans to increase its coronavirus restrictions on Tuesday as the state experiences an increase of coronavirus cases. 

The state unveiled its COVID-19 transmission index, under which counties would receive a weekly rating of high, moderate or low transmission level. Based on a county’s rating, it may need to adhere to stricter requirements on wearing masks.

A county’s rating will be based on case rate, seven-day positive rate and intensive care unit utilization. Counties can move from a lower level to a higher level every week, but can only move from a higher rating to a lower rating after spending at least 14 days at the lower level. 

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In counties with a high transmission rating, masks are required in public indoor settings, as well as outdoor settings if social distancing isn’t feasible. Masks will be required in counties with a moderate transmission rate until Oct. 29, and masks are “strongly recommended” in counties with low levels of transmission. 

However, regardless of a county’s rating, masks would be required at all public gatherings, such as sporting events, weddings, concerts and movie theaters. The state is also encouraging local governments to create their own mandates on masks. 

In addition, people living in high and moderate transmission areas will have to limit casual social gatherings to 10 people or fewer for two weeks, beginning Thursday. 

The restrictions come as Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) reports that the state is having “one of the worst outbreaks in the country,” which has taken a toll on the state’s health system. Herbert said the state’s new case count hovers around 1,000 per day, and its percent positivity rate is now over 13 percent. 

As of Wednesday, there were 88,963 total COVID-19 cases in the state and 527 deaths, according to data from the Utah Health Department

On Tuesday, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan GrishamMichelle Lynn Lujan GrishamHillicon Valley: YouTube suspends OANN amid lawmaker pressure | Dems probe Facebook, Twitter over Georgia runoff | FCC reaffirms ZTE's national security risk Netflix pledges billion for production spending, expands New Mexico studio Five House Democrats who could join Biden Cabinet MORE (D) announced plans to renew several coronavirus restrictions, including restricting indoor dining and limiting mass gatherings, saying that the virus is “booming” in the state.