Cox announces members of transition team; says pandemic war is being lost in homes

Nov 5, 2020, 7:41 PM

Utah mask mandate...

(Spencer Cox, left, and current Utah governor, Gary Herbert, bump elbows during the press conference in the capitol's Gold Room. Credit: Steve Griffin, Deseret News.)

(Spencer Cox, left, and current Utah governor, Gary Herbert, bump elbows during the press conference in the capitol's Gold Room. Credit: Steve Griffin, Deseret News.)

SALT LAKE CITY – Education, government efficiency and the COVID-19 response. Governor-elect Spencer Cox said those will be some of his top priorities as he moves forward with his newly-announced members of his transition team. 

The official transfer of power will happen Jan. 4, and Cox expects current governor Gary Herbert to actively lead the state until his term ends. In the meantime, Cox announced some of the people who will assist in the transition between the two administrations.

First to be announced was Cox’s new chief of staff, Jon Pierpont, who was the former executive director of the Utah Department of Workforce Services.  Cox also named Jennifer Napier-Pearce, former executive editor of the Salt Lake Tribune, as his new senior adviser and director of communications.

Also named to several transition committees were former Utah 4th Congressional District Representative Mia Love, Salt Lake County Council Member Aimee Winder-Newton and former Utah Department of Commerce Director Francine Gianni.

Lieutenant Governor-elect Deidre Henderson said their administration will always keep education as their top focus. Plus, she said they plan to look at every department of state government to find ways they can increase productivity.

Another one of the biggest areas of focus will be containing the spread of COVID-19.  Utah set another one-day record Thursday, with 2,807 new confirmed cases and 389 hospitalizations.  Despite spiking number of cases, Henderson said she feels state government has done everything it can to contain it.

“I don’t believe that we have gone in the wrong direction, at all,” she said. 

Henderson contracted the virus earlier this year, and she said that experience shaped how she views the pandemic. 

“Physical distancing and mask wearing is so important,” Henderson said. “It’s not so much about protecting you from the virus.  It’s about protecting other people from you if you happen to have the virus and don’t realize it, yet.”

According to Cox, Utah isn’t losing the battle against the virus on the state level.  He said it’s happening at the family level, with people spreading the virus with others in their homes.  He said people are infecting their loved ones and that’s overwhelming the hospital system.

“This is crunch-time,” Cox said.  “The next two months are absolutely critical.  We are in a dire situation and we cannot emphasize that enough.”

Cox said he hopes to increase both rapid surveillance testing and asymptomatic testing.  He believes if health workers can conduct hundreds of thousands of those tests per week, the state could get ahead of the virus. 

He also expects to beef up contact tracing, and said there could be announcements about that in the near future.  Plus, there’s another item Utah needs to prepare for.

“One of the things we should be focusing on in January will be vaccine distribution,” Cox said. 

Cox said frontline workers and people in Utah’s vulnerable populations will get the vaccine first.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.



Mariah Maynes

Researchers reveal new findings in neurological origins of creativity

A team of researchers said that a new study shows creativity may be reliant on certain neurological functions.

2 hours ago

Utah air quality is going down and it could get worse...

Josuee Sanchez

Utah air quality is deteriorating and could get worse

Utah is lacking of good air quality due to wildfires but it is mostly because of the hot weather.

2 days ago

Vehicles pass by a sign showing solidarity amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Murray on Sunday, April 12...

Heather Peterson

Youth mental health in Utah improving, post-pandemic

The latest Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that 37% of respondents reported feeling so sad or hopeless that they changed their usual activities.

4 days ago

A husband and wife's heartfelt effort to raise funds for a friend battling cancer has blossomed int...

Eric Cabrera

Ink Against Cancer: Fundraising for a good cause

A husband and wife's heartfelt effort to raise funds for a friend battling cancer has blossomed into a foundation, Ink Against Cancer.

7 days ago


Michelle Lee

Tips for booking your next vacation

Let’s Get Moving Host Maria Shilaos spoke with Claire Newell, Founder of Travel Best Bets, to learn her tips on booking a great vacation.

8 days ago

MaryAnn Gerber puts sunscreen on her daughter at their home in Layton in June of 2023. Utah's rate ...

Tammy Kikuchi and Simone Seikaly

Here’s why Utah has the highest rate of melanoma in the nation

In a recent 4-year period, Utah rate of skin cancer diagnoses was nearly double the national average.

13 days ago

Sponsored Articles

A young woman smiles while reading the menu at a lakeside restaurant, enjoying the panoramic view o...

Bear Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau

The best restaurants to try in Bear Lake

Save this guide to the best restaurants in Bear Lake when you need to find a place to dine during your next visit.

Female leg stepping on weigh scales. Healthy lifestyle, food and sport concept....

Health Utah

Sustainable weight loss: the science-backed way to achieve it

Learn more about Debbie's weight loss journey with Health Utah, who have a unique weight loss philosophy for success.

Underwater shot of the fisherman holding the fish...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Your Bear Lake fishing guide

Bear Lake offers year-round fishing opportunities. By preparing ahead of time, you might go home with a big catch!

A group of people cut a purple ribbon...


Comcast announces major fiber network expansion in Utah

Comcast's commitment to delivering extensive coverage signifies a monumental leap toward a digitally empowered future for Utahns.

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

Cox announces members of transition team; says pandemic war is being lost in homes