CACHE COUNTY – County officials here are ready to officially request that Cache County’s COVID-19 threat level be reduced from Yellow/Low level to Green/Minimal status.
At their meeting Tuesday, County Executive Craig Buttars told members of the county council that he had drafted a letter to Gov. Gary Herbert requesting that threat level reduction.
“Given our declining and low number of positive (COVID-19) cases here in Cache County, the low counts in our (health) district and our citizens’ attention to following precautionary protocols,” Buttars wrote, “we believe there is sufficient reason and justification for our county to be moved to Green status.”
The letter will be signed by Buttars and Karl B. Ward, the chairman of the Cache County Council. It will be forwarded through the Bear River Health Department to officials on the state’s COVID-19 Task Force for review.
The members of the county council voted in favor of a threat-level downgrade on June 9, but a formal request was never forwarded to state officials at that time. That vote was closely followed by a sharp spike in local COVID-19 cases due to an outbreak among workers at the JBS meat-packing plant in Hyrum.
“The timing was just wrong back then,” Buttars explained.
Cache County’s status with regard to the coronavirus is more positive now. On Tuesday, the Bear River Health Department reported only 11 new positive cases, eight in Cache County and three in Box Elder County.
Of 2,054 individuals in Cache County that tested positive for COVID-19 since mid-March, only three are currently hospitalized.
“We credit the declining case numbers to our great citizens and our vigilant health department,” Buttars added in his letter to Herbert. “Residents in our county have made the effort to physically distance, wash their hands frequently and voluntarily wear face coverings.
“Our Bear River Health Department has worked diligently and quickly to complete contact tracing when needed. We are extremely grateful for state support of our health department in these efforts.”
There are four coronavirus threat levels under Herbert’s “Utah Leads Together” pandemic response plan, scaled according to the risk of being infected with COVID-19. They are Red/High, Orange/Moderate, Yellow/Low and Green/Minimal threat levels.
About a third of Utah’s 29 counties are already under a Green/Minimal threat level for the coronavirus. They are primarily rural areas with relatively low populations, including Beaver, Daggett, Duchesne, Emery, Garfield, Kane, Millard, Piute, Uintah and Wayne counties.
Cache County is one of 19 counties still under a Yellow/Low threat level. They include major population centers like Davis, Salt Lake, Utah, Washington and Weber counties.
Only Salt Lake City is still under an Orange/Moderate threat level.