SALT LAKE CITY — While Utah COVID-19 cases had been trending generally downward for the past seven days, including sub-600 counts the past four days, the number of confirmed cases jumped up by 863 Friday, with six more deaths reported by the Utah Department of Health

© Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
Barret Pritchard, 8, puts on a mask while working at a lemonade stand with his sister in Provo on July 14.

The spike pushes the seven-day rolling average to 614 cases just more than a week ahead of the Aug. 1 deadline that Gov. Gary Herbert set for re-evaluating current statewide regulations. Earlier this month, Herbert said that if the state doesn’t reduce its rolling seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases to less than 500 cases by that date, he could trigger “more aggressive action by the government” that could include a statewide mask mandate.

Total reported COVID-19 cases in the Beehive State are now 36,962 with 273 deaths and 494,071 tests performed. The rolling, seven-day average positivity rate was 9.1%, and 225 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19.

Five of the six reported fatalities were long-term care residents, two of whom were men between 65-84 and two women 65-84 and one woman who was older than 85. Another man, aged 45-64, died in Washington County. Three of the newly reported deaths were in Salt Lake County and two in Davis County.

Logan mayor wants mask mandate

Logan’s mayor is getting mixed reviews on her effort to get state officials to green light a citywide mask mandate as the state’s case count bumped up again, with the 863 new cases confirmed Thursday and 6 more deaths.

If approved the northern Utah city would join three counties and a town in southern Utah as the only areas in the state where residents are required to wear masks when unable to social distance while in public space.

”This is the critical period with students going back to school, and with university students coming back to town, you know, who are coming from out of state and other places,” Logan Mayor Holly Daines said Tuesday according to the Associated Press. “This is a way to help protect our community.”

Daines also stipulated that wearing a mask would not be required in every situation.

”If you are in a building, in your own personal workspace which allows you to social distance, you do not have to wear a mask,” Daines told the Herald Journal. “If you go outside, you should have one available in case you come into contact with people that are outside and you can’t social distance.”

Logan City Councilman Jess Bradfield was the only member opposing the mandate, arguing that he wants to work out a compromise with the city and county.

”I don’t like the division that’s taken place,” Bradfield said. “This has become a political issue.”

Multiple Cache County Council members have said they prefer encouraging residents to wear masks versus ordering it and argue that a countywide mask mandate is unlikely. The low numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the county are proof “people here are working hard to do their best to be careful with this virus,” Cache County Councilwoman Gina Worthen said.

The Logan proposal is expected to be sent to the Bear River Health Department, which will then send it to the state for consideration. Salt Lake, Summit and Grand counties and the city of Springdale have all been granted similar authority to mandate mask wearing by Herbert.

Early last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention dispatched public health workers to help respond to a COVID-19 outbreak in Cache County where hundreds employed at a meat packaging plant tested positive for the virus.

Some 287 employees at the JBS facility in Hyrum tested positive for COVID-19 in testing done on May 30 and June 2. The plant employs around 1,400, many of whom are members of immigrant and refugee communities.

According to state data released Friday, the Bear River region, which includes Box Elder, Cache and Rich counties have had 2,049 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 82 hospitalizations and 5 deaths.

The latest breakdown of Utah cases, hospitalizations and deaths by health district: Salt Lake County, 17,686; 1,150 hospitalized; 156 deaths. Utah County, 6,938; 323 hospitalized; 31 deaths. Southwest Utah, 2,672; 148 hospitalized; 22 deaths. Davis County, 2,616; 147 hospitalized; 10 deaths. Bear River (Box Elder, Cache, Rich), 2,049; 82 hospitalized; 5 deaths. Weber-Morgan, 2,268; 141 hospitalized; 24 deaths. Summit County, 658; 52 hospitalized; 1 death. San Juan County, 566; 73 hospitalized; 19 deaths. Wasatch County, 508; 20 hospitalized; 4 deaths. Tooele County, 472; 21 hospitalized; 0 deaths. Central Utah, 328; 19 hospitalized; 1 death. TriCounty (Uinta Basin), 132; 8 hospitalized; 0 deaths. Southeast Utah, 69; 4 hospitalized; 0 deaths

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