Kane County goes green with few cases; Washington County sees death of woman from COVID-19

Rendering of the COVID-19 form of the coronavirus. | Photo by berkozel, iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — With only one new COVID-19 case since April 9, Gov. Gary Herbert has given the go-ahead for Kane County to immediately move to the green recommended restrictions level.

Chart shows the rise in cases in Southern Utah from the coronavirus from May 1 to June 12, 2020 | Chart by Chris Reed, St. George News

This makes the home of Kanab, the Grand Staircase and the Coral Pink Sand Dunes the first area of Southern Utah to move to what is being called the “new normal” in a post-coronavirus world.

At the same time, Southern Utah reported its first coronavirus-related death in nearly a month: A Washington County woman in her 50s with an underlying medical condition. 

The death was one of eight in Utah announced Friday, the most in one day in the state since the pandemic began in March. 

Herbert has said individual counties and other localities can submit applications to reduce their risk level to be reviewed by the states, and he’s expressed a willingness to do so if the data shows a reduction in the spread of the virus.

Kane County has had four total cases since the first positive test in Southern Utah on March 21. A positive coronavirus test on June 8 was the first since April 9.

A graphic showing the conditions where a person can be considered high-risk for being hospitalized or dying from the coronavirus. Click to enlarge. | File photos by Pixabay, graphic by Chris Reed, St. George News

“Kane County is in a good position to move to Green, although that phase still includes guidelines of social distancing and masks to protect the vulnerable residents,” David Heaton, spokesperson for the Southwest Utah Public Health Department, told St. George News. 

Under green, most of the restrictions recommended by the state for businesses and individuals are released, though individuals are still encouraged to follow social distancing and wear face coverings when that is not possible. 

Groups of any size are allowed and schools can reopen. 

However, Heaton cautions that under this new normal, things aren’t going to go back to the way they were before the pandemic — especially for high-risk populations.

“Green doesn’t mean pre-pandemic conditions,” Heaton said. 

Those who are high-risk – including those over 65 years old or those with underlying health conditions like asthma and diabetes – are not necessarily under stay-at-home advisement but should still avoid large crowds, socially distance themselves and wear face coverings in public. 

For those who are high risk, that will be the new normal until a vaccine or better treatments can be found to fight the virus, which still has no known treatment or cure. 

The rest of Southern Utah and much of the rest of the state will remain under yellow until at least June 27 at which time the governor will review the risk status. 

A full list of the guidelines can be found here.

COVID-19 information resources

Southern Utah coronavirus count (as of June 12, 2020, one-day increase in parentheses)

Positive COVID-19 tests: 739 (21 new)

  • Washington County: 578 (13 new)
  • Iron County: 153 (8 new)
  • Garfield County: 4 
  • Kane County: 4 
  • Beaver County: 0

Deaths: 5 

  • Washington County: 4 (1 new) 
  • Iron County: 1

Hospitalized: 16 (1 less) 

Tested: 13,979 (0 new tests)

Recovered: 515 (33 new)

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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