Two months after the Cache County Council voted to go “green,” Cache County Executive Craig Buttars announced he’s sending a formal request to Gov. Gary Herbert.
“Cache County’s COVID-19 case count has continued to improve with a steady decline in the seven-day positivity rate over the last six weeks,” Buttars read from the letter at Tuesday’s council meeting. “The other two counties in our health district, Box Elder and Rich, are also experiencing very low positive cases.”
Buttars also cited the low number of hospitalizations — “well-below the ICU capacity” and deaths caused by the virus as reasoning to lower the risk status for the county to “the new normal.”
As noted by Councilmember David Erickson, the letter was not sent to the governor initially following the vote in June, so this will be the first time the request will be considered by the governor’s office.
Reactions online to the announcement were mixed, and several said the move was overdue, including Shauna Olsen.
“The state shouldn’t have ever done the stupid color thing,” she commented. “Let’s get on with life and stop fearing.”
Others, however, felt it would be prudent to wait a month, or until classes at Utah State University have begun — especially as numerous universities and colleges have been forced online after the first week of in-person instruction.
“Isn’t it just a little premature to go to green?” commented Christi Stephensen in one post.
Buttars gave citizens of the area accolades for taking “the responsibility of keeping themselves safe, and helping to keep others safe by physically distancing, washing their hands and voluntarily wearing face coverings” which have lead to the decrease in cases.
The council made the initial vote to go green when the area was a national hotspot for coronavirus cases, largely stemming from the outbreak at the JBS meat-processing facility in Hyrum.
Of the 2,054 confirmed cases of the virus in Cache County, 1,851 are considered “recovered,” though that only means it’s been at least three weeks since they contracted the virus. There are currently 203 active cases in the county and three hospitalized due to the virus, though thousands of individuals from all over the world are flocking to the area before USU’s classes start up on Monday.
Lloyd Berentzen, the director of the Bear River Health Department, received the letter on Wednesday morning and forwarded it to the Utah Department of Health. The executive director of UDOH will then pass his recommendation to the Gov. Herbert within the week, who will then determine whether the request will be granted.