Salt Lake County leaders: mask mandate is working

Jul 22, 2020, 1:26 PM | Updated: 3:04 pm
salt lake county mask mandate...
Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson celebrated a decrease in COVID-19 cases and attributed that to a mask mandate that took effect earlier in July. Photo: KSL NewsRadio/Facebook Live

SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson said the mask mandate enacted two weeks ago is clearly working, based on data from Utah health officials. 

Wilson said before the mask mandate took effect on June 27, Salt Lake County accounted for 60% of Utah’s COVID-19 cases. Since the order, that number has dropped to 40% of the state’s cases in just two weeks. 

“Face coverings are one of the most effective ways to slow the spread of COVID-19,” said David Schuld, a leader of Salt Lake County’s COVID-19 response and recovery plan.  

He also pointed to a decrease in COVID-19 hospitalizations in Salt Lake County.


The data behind the mask mandate

Mayor Wilson noted since the mask order was established, the county has begun to stabilize the hospitalization and infection rate. According to Wilson, the mask mandate is helping prevent overwhelming the county’s hospital.  

Schuld said required face coverings directly correlate to the drop in hospitalizations from a high 6% to a low 5%. Additionally, Schuld stated the county’s infection rate has declined from 2.7% to just above 1%. 

The county’s goal is to have a transmission rate below 1% but Mayor Wilson mentioned it would take some time before that’s possible. 

Mayor Wilson continued to call upon Governor Gary Herbert to mandate masks statewide, especially with school going back into session.  

Gary Edwards, Executive Director of the Salt Lake County Health Department, also stated a mask mandate is imperative to controlling case surges. 

“We need a mask order,” said Edwards. “What we need to do is control surges.” He said while Salt Lake County is seeing coronavirus cases stabilize, the rest of the state is experiencing the opposite. 

Mask mandate compliance in Salt Lake County

Salt Lake County health department officials visited 44 stores around the county to evaluate compliance with the mask mandate. He said his staff found 96% of Salt Lake County customers and 99% of employees wore masks; they did not consider anyone whose mask was under their nose as being in compliance. 

“The face-covering order is a successful public health tool,” Edwards concluded. 

Edwards pointed out in order to eradicate the virus, community members must do their part in practicing physical distancing and personal hygiene. 

At a news conference earlier in the day, state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn said a decrease in cases in Salt Lake County correlates with the mask mandate; however, she said there are too many variables to declare that the mask mandate alone caused the decrease. However, she said it was an encouraging trend.


How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus spreads person to person, similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
  • Get a flu shot.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A 

Utah’s Coronavirus Information 

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States

Today’s Top Stories

COVID-19: Vaccine Watch

A sign reading "immunizations" hangs over a desk. COVID-19 vaccines Utah...
Samantha Herrera

Where to find a COVID-19 vaccine provider for children 5 and under in Utah

COVID-19 vaccines are now available for children as young as 6 months old, but where can you find a vaccine provider for your child in Utah?
14 days ago
A child is comforted after getting his COVID-19 vaccine....
Samantha Herrera

More COVID-19 vaccines ordered in Utah for children as young as 6 months

32,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines for children 6 months and older have been ordered by the Utah Department of Health and Human Services.
15 days ago
This combination of 2022 and 2020 file  photos shows logos for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control...

Marathon US hearings to decide fate of COVID shots for tots

On Wednesday, both Moderna and Pfizer will argue their case. Each company aims to offer a different dose and number of shots.
27 days ago
FILE - A vial of the Phase 3 Novavax coronavirus vaccine is seen ready for use in the trial at St. ...
LOLITA C. BALDOR Associated Press

New vaccine may be option for troops with religious concerns

At least 175 active duty and reserve service members have received the Novavax vaccine. Some have traveled overseas at their own expense to get it.
28 days ago
utah student achievement COVID-19...
Simone Seikaly

Utah student performance knocked down during COVID-19 restrictions

A review of multiple Utah student performance exams found "significant impacts" in mathematics achievement across grades.
1 month ago
COVID-19 vaccine...

Opponents of federal vaccine mandate seek rehearing

Mr. Biden issued an order Sept. 9 that more than 3.5 million federal executive branch workers undergo vaccination, with no option to get regularly tested.
2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
Salt Lake County leaders: mask mandate is working