DAVE & DUJANOVIC

“Not unexpected” said Dr. Dunn after mask mandates in Utah shot down

Jan 20, 2022, 5:09 PM | Updated: Jan 21, 2022, 12:51 pm
mask mandates in utah...
Senate President Stuart Adams, R-Layton, presides in the Senate chamber at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on the second day of the legislative session, Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022. Photo credit: Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — On Tuesday, the first day of the 2022 Legislative Session, Utah senators voted 22-5 to overturn mask mandates in Utah. Each represented a public health order that required residents of Salt Lake and Summit counties to wear masks indoors or while standing in line outside. 

New Friday: Utah House overturns Salt Lake, Summit county mask mandates

The doctor addresses mask mandates in Utah

Executive director at the Salt Lake County Health Department, Dr. Angela Dunn joined KSL NewsRadio hosts Dave & Dujanovic to talk about the actions of legislators to vanquish COVID-19 and the importance of masking in relation to the omicron variant.

 

“Capitol Hill passed legislation initially allowing a health director, such as yourself, to put these mandates in place,” Dujanovic said. “Do you feel a little whiplash now that they’re attempting to revoke your authority to issue a mask mandate?”

“Well, it’s definitely within their power as SB 195 passed last session dictates that the Legislature can indeed overturn a health order of a local jurisdiction,” Dunn said.

“I do think it’s unfortunate given their priority to keep control at the local level for the COVID response, but not unexpected.”

Battling pandemic together as professionals

Dave Noriega noted that SB195 seemed to strike the right balance between public health directors and city and county elected officials.

“Yeah, and that’s the frustrating part,” Dunn said. 

She added that she felt the Salt Lake County Council made an informed decision based on hospitalizations in the county amid the omicron surge because she was updating them.

“They felt prepared to pull the trigger on a massive mandate to prevent further hospitalizations and disruption of our essential services,” Dunn said. “And so we came together as a county to decide what’s best for our residents.

“Now we’re fighting with the state Legislature, which again is unfortunate but not unexpected.”

Don’t infect yourself or others, wear a mask, says doc

Debbie noted that state Sen. Dan McKay, who represents Bluffdale, Draper, Herriman, Lehi, Riverton, and Sandy, said during debate over masks that they don’t work. McKay is Senate sponsor of the bill to terminate public health orders requiring masks.

He said:

I likened the requirement to wear a mask like trying to wave your arms out the window of a car to try and slow yourself down. ” 

“I didn’t really understand that analogy. But I don’t go around waving my arms out the window of a car. I do mask up. What’s your take on what he said about masks?” Debbie asked.

“I think this kind of hyperbolic language is exactly what’s confusing our citizens on what’s best to protect themselves and their loved ones,” Dunn said.

“Definitely, wearing a mask is not a silver bullet. It’s not 100% proof that you will not get infected with Covid. However, it does drastically decrease your chances of getting infected and then infecting others if you have it.”

She added that wearing a mask will help restaurants and other businesses stay open. Doing so will also help prevent hospitals and healthcare facilities from being overrun and shutting down, she said.

Debbie noted that this week many Utah school districts have moved to online learning during the omicron surge.

Related: Which Utah schools are remote and which schools are in person?

“Is a one-week pause on in-person classes long enough in your view?” she asked.

“I think a one-week pause sends home the message that this is serious,” Dunn said. “When it comes to businesses, schools and workplaces, ventilation is key. And we’ve been working with schools and workplaces to make sure that they have access to information about how to improve the ventilation.”

Getting a COVID-19 booster shot and wearing masks are also essential for returning students to class and learning, Dunn said.

Omicron on the way out in US

When do you expect Omicron to peak? Debbie asked.

“Washington, D.C. and New York City were some of the first jurisdictions to feel the Omicron surge and they are on the decline right now.

She said Utah is a fews of weeks behind those East Coast regions.

“However, it might come sooner. Summit County was the first county to see this surge. They’re seeing some good indicators that they’re actually starting to drop already,” Dunn said. But “we’ve got a good two to four weeks left before our hospitals are no longer in crisis mode.”

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.  


How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus (updated Jan. 2022)

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

  • Get vaccinated. If you are vaccinated, get your booster shot.
  • Wear a mask. Here are the current CDC recommendations (as of Jan. 12, 2022):
    • People aged 2 years and older who are not vaccinated should wear a face covering when indoors.
    • When outdoors, masks are generally not needed unless you are in a crowded setting.
    • Even if they are vaccinated, people with weakened immune systems may still be at risk and should wear a mask indoors.
    • Masks should be worn indoors in public in high transmission areas.
    • Masks that cover your nose and mouth are required to be worn on planes, busses, trains, and other public transportation when traveling into, within, or out of the United States.
  • Stay six feet away from others (social distancing) especially if you are at high risk.
  • Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces.
  • Testing. There are several types of tests for you to use if you suspect you are sick. These include viral and antibody tests, conducted by others or by you in your home (self-tests). 
    • If you test positive, you should isolate. The CDC now recommends a five-day isolation period, followed by five days of mask-wearing when around others.

Local resources

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

Dave & Dujanovic

two trainees training in response to school schootings....
Curt Gresseth

Security expert talks about being prepared amid school shootings

A retired police officer who is now director of training for a Salt Lake City security company talks about being prepared to stop school shootings.
21 hours ago
Many Utah high schools plan large outdoor events for graduation this year. Photo: Canva...
Curt Gresseth

Are flower leis inappropriate for high school graduation ceremonies?

A member of the KSL Community Board says leis are an important symbol of passage for high school graduates of Pacific Islander and Hawaiian heritage and should be permitted for graduation ceremonies in Utah.
3 days ago
wildfires...
Curt Gresseth

Fiery, smoky summer ahead. Do your part to prevent wildfires from starting.

Experts in wildfires say Utah could be in for a smoky summer. So tie up your trailer chains and check the tread on your tires!
4 days ago
be ready utah...
Curt Gresseth

Are you ready when an emergency strikes at work?

Two professionals give insight and advice on being ready for an emergency while at work.
9 days ago
Las Vegas pushes to become first to ban ornamental grass...
Curt Gresseth

Fight the drought, install artificial turf. Landscape expert shares advice.

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s ongoing, historic drought and water restrictions in your city have turned your green lawn yellow. You’ve contemplated planting native grasses and shrubs, but you want a covering you can walk and play on. Why not install artificial turf?  Landscape expert Bill Holland joined KSL NewsRadio’s Dave Noriega and Debbie Dujanovic […]
10 days ago
buffalo shooter...
Becky Bruce and Mark Jones

Former U.S. Attorney says shootings such as the one in Buffalo are hard to predict

Shootings such as the one in Buffalo are hard to predict, says John Huber, former U.S. District Attorney for the District of Utah.
11 days ago

Sponsored Articles

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?
...

Tax Tuesday: The Most Common Mistakes People Make When Filing Their Taxes

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.
...

Tax Tuesday: How will last year’s child tax credits affect you?

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.
...

Tax Tuesday: Key Information Before the Filing Deadline

Businesses can receive a credit of up to $5,000 per employee in 2020 and up to $21,000 per employee in 2021.
“Not unexpected” said Dr. Dunn after mask mandates in Utah shot down