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Heading into the fall, Summit County’s COVID situation is ‘close to where we want to be,’ health official says

As summer winds down, health officials say the state of the pandemic in Summit County is relatively good — the county is approaching targets for case numbers and positivity rates, and the situation here is much better than that in the rest of the state.

But Summit County Health Director Rich Bullough doesn’t paint a completely rosy picture, acknowledging surging cases in neighboring counties and the prospect of another wave of the virus as the weather turns colder, which, coupled with seasonal influenza, could strain hospital resources.

Still, he praised the Summit County community’s response to the pandemic and said it is residents’ and visitors’ willingness to comply with guidelines that is keeping case numbers relatively low. He hoped that would carry over to widespread flu vaccination this fall.

“I think pretty good is a good assessment,” Bullough said Tuesday morning. “As we’ve said many, many times, this is about managing this, and we’ve set some targets that we feel indicate that we’re managing it reasonably well.”

Some of those numbers are: a case positivity rate of 6%, meaning that 6% of Summit County residents tested for COVID-19 have the disease; a rate of 11.2 cases per 100,000 people, a metric used to compare areas with different populations; and four consecutive days of declining new case numbers after a previous six consecutive days of plateau.

Another statistic that Bullough highlighted was the county’s 53 hospitalizations since the pandemic began. He told the Board of Health Monday that there hasn’t been a new COVID-specific hospitalization in five weeks.

“It’s also reflective, unfortunately, of who is driving this pandemic in this moment in Summit County, and that is young people. The young people tend to not end up in hospitals,” Bullough told the board.

He said that’s especially true in the 20- to 24-year-old age group.

“Having been a young male, I don’t know how you change behaviors of young males, but it is a dangerous risk,” he said.

He also told the board that he hadn’t seen many cases tied to bars, fitness centers or schools, a welcome development, if a surprising one.

“I think comparatively we should remain proud in Summit County that we’re keeping this pretty well under control,” he said.

He cautioned, however, against the notion that COVID-19 shouldn’t still be taken seriously.

“This is still a very deadly disease,” he said, estimating that the fatality rate would end up around 1%, 10 times higher than influenza, at 0.1%.

And risks loom on the horizon. As the weather cools and people move increasingly indoors, the virus has a greater chance of spreading. Neighboring Wasatch County is doing well, Bullough said, but Salt Lake County is seeing an uptick in cases. Many people who work in Summit County live in those two counties, he said, and others may live in Utah County, which he said has seen case numbers grow for 21 consecutive days and is driving most of the state’s recent spike.

Much of Utah County does not have restrictions like mandated mask-wearing in public.

In Summit County, the story changes from one end of the county to the other. Most cases, Bullough said, are concentrated in western Summit County.

“It is true what eastern Summit County mayors have been stating: This is, by and large, a western Summit County phenomenon,” he said.

That’s true in schools, as well.

Bullough said the Health Department was preparing for the winter months and the possibility of mass vaccination campaigns. He said he’d been told Utah would initially receive around 20,000 vaccines, which, if doled out by population, would mean a few hundred vaccines reaching Summit County.

That first wave of vaccines would likely be given to first responders and medical personnel, Bullough said, adding that most of the vaccines that are proceeding through trials require two doses. He estimated that it would be well into next summer before a vaccine might be widely available.

“I believe a year from now, we’re going to be having a much different conversation,” he said.

Bullough stressed the importance of getting a flu shot this fall.

“People need to get their flu vaccine,” he said. “We can’t have two diseases sitting on top of each other that are going to drive hospitalizations at the same time.”

He added that there is a body of evidence that shows being vaccinated against disease when healthy can improve the body’s immune response to other diseases.

“I think we’re close to where we want to be in Summit County,” Bullough said. “The state is not, though, and the nation is not. We are entering — we’ve expected all along a surge in fall and into winter season. We still expect that. The hope is that we’d have this stuff knocked down as we head into these surge seasons. We’re seeing a significant surge (statewide) as we’re heading into a time where we expect it to get worse.”

Latest Colby School proposal denied by County Council

The Summit County Council recently denied an application to use the site of the former Colby School as a bed-and-breakfast, the latest entry in a yearslong dispute surrounding efforts to restore the Victorian-style mansion just east of S.R. 224 to a commercial use after years of dormancy.

Councilors Kim Carson, Glenn Wright and Doug Clyde, the council’s chair, voted against the applicants’ appeal, while Chris Robinson supported the proposal and Roger Armstrong was absent.

The applicants, Hoffvest LLC, may appeal the decision to district court. The Snyderville Basin Planning Commission denied an application for a conditional use permit in June, leading the applicants to appeal to the County Council.

Neighbors have consistently and strongly opposed commercial uses for the property, which includes the Victorian-style home and outbuildings. It sits just east of S.R. 224 south of the entrance to Canyons Village and is adjacent to several homes and three residential subdivisions.

Before it operated as the Colby School, the name by which it is still widely referred, the building began as the Snowed Inn. The school ceased operations there in 2008.

In 2014, Hoffvest LLC purchased the property and applied the next year for a 55-room hotel and event center, which neighbors vigorously opposed.

The project has been significantly whittled down to the current eight-room bed-and-breakfast with one room for a caretaker, the largest bed-and-breakfast allowed by the code.

The legal issue hinged on the definition of “owner-occupied,” which is not expressly defined in the Summit County Code or the Snyderville Basin Development Code.

Eschewing debates about what percentage of ownership the occupant should have or what sort of ownership arrangement would work, Wright chose a colorful descriptor for his opinion.

“I will go back to an observation from an old Supreme Court justice when they were talking about pornography: I don’t know how to define it, but I know it when I see it,” he said. “I will use that definition for myself as defining a bed-and-breakfast. The owner has to physically be there.”

The applicants’ attorney, Robert McConnell, argued that the county’s code defines both owner and occupant and that since the definition of a person includes corporations, Hoffvest LLC should be able to occupy the building.

In earlier Planning Commission meetings, commissioners had joked about ringing the doorbell and a stack of papers opening the door.

McConnell said the applicants have suggested the employee hired to manage the facility be given an ownership stake of 1% to 10% in the property, thus making that person an owner-occupant. The Planning Commission, and now the County Council, found that arrangement insufficient.

The Snyderville Basin Development Code limits a bed-and-breakfast inn to “an owner occupied residence in which up to eight (8) rooms are rented for overnight lodging to travelers.” Carson reiterated the rationale for that definition at Wednesday’s meeting.

“The idea behind that was that the people (who live in the neighborhood) have a stake in what happens in their neighborhood, in their community, and they’re going to be more apt to regulate who stays at their bed-and-breakfast,” Carson said.

Clyde said allowing the sort of arrangement the applicant suggested would make the “owner-occupant” requirement in the code meaningless, and Robinson asked the applicant what the difference would be between a bed-and-breakfast and a hotel.

Jami Brackin, a Summit County deputy civil attorney, cautioned planning commissioners against deciding what percentage of ownership would satisfy the owner-occupant requirement, and reiterated her warning to county councilors.

“(The applicant) will appeal that to the district court, because then the council will be imposing a condition not in our development code, and then they would challenge that and probably win,” Brackin told the council. “The question is not how much of an ownership does the employee need, the question is ‘Is it an owner-occupied residence?’”

Clyde said the employee-employer relationship at the heart of the arrangement invalidated it.

“What if your ownership is contingent upon the arbitrary ability of (the employers) to … terminate your employment? That really doesn’t sound like ownership. That sounds like a scam, frankly,” he said.

The property has had an interesting relationship with its neighbors, who had complained about a lack of responsiveness from previous owners in dealing with impacts like noise, light and parking.

The applicants have said the bed-and-breakfast would likely be used to host events like weddings, as others are, and neighbors had requested capping the number of events there.

One of the outbuildings has been used as a pilates studio and, in 2017, the main building was used as an unapproved hostel that housed around 50 seasonal employees before it was shut down by the county.

Coronavirus tracker: 927 total confirmed cases in Summit County as of Thursday

UPDATED Thursday, Sept. 17
Sources: Utah Department of Health, Summit County Health Department and Park City School District

Summit County numbers

Total known cases: 927, up from 925
Total hospitalizations: 54, up from 53
Deaths: 1, no change

Cases in Park City School District

Total known active cases in schools (as of Sept. 13): 2 — one at Park City High School and one at Treasure Mountain Junior High

Statewide numbers

Total known cases: 60,658, up from 59,747
Total hospitalizations: 3,401, up from 3,381
Deaths: 437, no change
Estimated recovered patients: 50,108

More information about COVID-19

• Park Record coronavirus coverage: https://www.parkrecord.com/coronavirus/
• Community bulletin board with information about businesses in Park City: http://parkrecord.secondstreetapp.com/Community-Bulletin-Board/
• Summit County Health Department coronavirus website: https://summitcountyhealth.org/coronavirus
• Summit County community concerns line: 435-333-0050
• Utah coronavirus website: https://coronavirus.utah.gov/
• Utah coronavirus hotline: 1-800-456-7707
• Intermountain Healthcare testing resources (Hotline: 844-442-5224): https://intermountainhealthcare.org/covid19-coronavirus/get-testing/

Park City police pull over fast-moving drivers, including a case involving interstate speeds

The Park City Police Department last week pulled over drivers who, the agency said, were traveling at speeds well above the posted limits, including in one case someone driving at interstate-highway speeds on one of the entryways.

The police regularly conduct traffic patrols that net drivers for speeding and other violations. Speeding has long been one of the top law enforcement complaints of people in Park City.

Some of the cases last week included:

• on Saturday, Sept. 12 at 11:08 p.m., a police officer pulled over a driver at or close to the intersection of Park Avenue and Holiday Ranch Loop Road, indicating the vehicle was traveling at 50 mph in a location where the posted speed limit is 40 mph. The driver also “rolled through” a stoplight while making a turn while the light was red, the police said.

• on Sept. 12 at 7:11 p.m., an officer pulled over a driver on S.R. 248 in the vicinity of Quinn’s Junction, indicating the person was traveling at 68 mph in a location where the posted speed limit is 50 mph. The police said the driver acknowledged they were speeding and said they were “running late to the rodeo,” according to department logs.

• on Tuesday, Sept. 8 at 1:35 p.m., a driver was stopped on S.R. 224 at 53 mph in a location where the posted speed limit is 40 mph.

• on Sept. 8 at 1:15 p.m., a driver was pulled over on S.R. 224 at 54 mph in a location where the posted speed limit is 40 mph.

• on Monday, Sept. 7 at 9:05 a.m., a driver was stopped on S.R. 224 at 59 mph in a location where the posted speed limit is 40 mph. Someone in the vehicle acknowledged the driver was speeding, indicating they were “in a hurry to get to the airport,” the police said.

• on Sept. 7 at 7:24 a.m., a driver was pulled over at 60 mph in a location where the posted speed limit is 40 mph on Marsac Avenue.

The police on Sept. 12 at 8:12 p.m., meanwhile, pulled over a driver after, according to department logs, the person drove the wrong way on a one-way road. The person was pulled over on the 1300 block of Lowell Avenue, but it was not clear from the logs where the suspected violation occurred.

The Police Department last week reported numerous other traffic stops for what appeared to be minor offenses in various locations.

Speeding and other traffic offenses have long been one of the chief law enforcement complaints in Park City as Parkites especially worry about speeding drivers in neighborhoods. The Police Department regularly conducts traffic patrols.

Writers on the Range: A goldmine by a salmon fishery is a terrible idea

In Alaska, what supports 14,000 jobs, generates $1.5 billion annually and sustains the region’s indigenous communities, just as it has for millennia?

The answer is Bristol Bay’s wild salmon fishery, and it is no exaggeration to say it is the world’s most productive. Every year, some 40-60 million salmon return to the bay’s headwaters.

Yet in late July, the Army Corps of Engineers gave the proposed gold and silver Pebble Mine the go-ahead in its final environmental review. For the Trump administration, it’s been full speed ahead even though opposition continues to gain momentum.

More than 80 percent of Bristol Bay residents are against it. Prominent jewelers like Tiffany & Co., Ben Bridge and Zale’s have expressed their opposition to the Pebble Mine and vowed not to use any gold extracted from it. Even Donald Trump Jr. opposes the mine.

Commercial fisherman, churches, restaurants, seafood processors, hunters and anglers, Earthworks, the Wild Salmon Center and grocery-store companies all support protection of the Bristol Bay salmon fishery over large-scale mining. And nobody has been as steadfast in their opposition, or stands to lose as much, as the Native tribes who live around this magnificent bay.

“We are salmon people,” said Alannah Hurley, executive director of United Tribes of Bristol Bay, when she testified before a Congressional committee last year. “But salmon are more than food for us. Salmon are central to our cultural identity, our spirituality and our sacred way of life that has made us who we are for thousands of years in the Bristol Bay region.”

In 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency completed a scientific assessment and proposed safety limits on disposing mine waste in Bristol Bay waters to ensure that salmon wouldn’t be harmed by mining. But in its evaluation of three possible scenarios, the EPA found that even the smallest mine would result in “unacceptable adverse effects.”

And what does “small” mean when talking about a massive open pit and tailings dam for storing 1.1 billion tons of mine waste? There would also be a 270-megawatt power plant, a 188-mile long natural gas pipeline that crosses Cook Inlet, an 82-mile transportation corridor, and a port on the Alaska coast. And it’s worth noting that Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd., the Canadian company behind the mine, has promised its shareholders that Pebble will inevitably expand to its full size, thanks to subsequent permit expansions.

In any case, the Trump administration withdrew the proposed safety limits in 2019, and the mine has been fast-tracked through the environmental review process, led by the Army Corps of Engineers.

Yet state and federal experts have repeatedly critiqued the adequacy of the environmental review. The chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure recently called for a delay in the release of the Final Environmental Impact Statement due to the Corp’s failure to properly consult with tribes.

Then in late August, two major events: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reversed its July go-ahead and gave mine operators 90 days to explain how they would offset “unavoidable adverse impacts” to more than 3,200 acres of wetlands. Reuters reports that the next day, shares in the company owning the mine fell by 25% as investors weighed in. In addition, Alaska’s two Republican Senators came out against the mine.

The final environmental review predicts a mind-boggling variety of impacts to the Bristol Bay watershed. One example: permanent damage to over 100 miles of rivers and streams and 2,000 acres of wetlands. I can’t think of any other mine in North America — and perhaps the world — that would have such a devastating effect on clean water.

The Bristol Bay salmon fishery is a renewable resource; the legacy of the Pebble Mine promises perpetual pollution.

The ore will likely be shipped overseas to Asia, while the lasting impacts stay in Bristol Bay. In contrast, if the pristine water and wild salmon habitat of the watershed gain protection, the fishery can continue to feed our nation and power our economy forever.

It’s hard to imagine a more irresponsible mining project than the Pebble Mine. The silver lining: There’s still time for Congress to act before a permit to mine is issued this fall, and for mine opponents to be heard, loud and clear. This mine must be stopped.

Bonnie Gestring is a contributor to Writers on the Range, writersontherange.com, a nonprofit dedicated to spurring lively conversation about the West. She lives in Montana, works as northwest program director for Earthworks, and has been reviewing mining projects for 20 years.

Park City police blotter: Loud rap music heard in Old Town

On Sunday, Sept. 13 at 11:13 p.m., a person suspected to be intoxicated was reported at or close to the intersection of Main Street and 7th Street. Public police logs did not provide details.

A suspected vehicle burglary was reported on S.R. 224 at 8:59 a.m. Public police logs did not provide details about the losses or any damage to the vehicle.

People were reported to be loud and playing loud music somewhere along Daly Avenue at 1:38 a.m. Earlier that night, at 12:44 a.m., the police received a complaint from Daly Avenue about people “blaring rap music.” It was not clear from public police logs whether the cases were reported at the same location. The police logged the cases as suspected disturbing the peace.

On Saturday, Sept. 12 at 11:29 p.m., a suspected drunken driver was reported on Marsac Avenue. Public police logs did not provide details.

The police at 3:10 p.m. received a complaint from someone about a neighbor who was playing loud music on Iron Canyon Drive. The person told the police it was “not relaxing” to be outside, according to department logs. The case was logged as suspected disturbing the peace.

On Friday, Sept. 11 at 11:59 p.m., someone on Norfolk Avenue reported “hearing drunk party noise.” The police logged the case as suspected disturbing the peace.

A hit-and-run traffic accident was reported on Stein Way at 11:18 p.m. The victim’s vehicle was in a garage at the time and found damage to the back of the vehicle, the police said.

A police officer stopped a driver at 5:19 p.m., indicating the person made a prohibited turn from Marsac Avenue to Hillside Avenue.

The police at 12:14 p.m. received a complaint about the scent of natural gas on Main Street close to Swede Alley. The police were told customers on Main Street told the person who called the authorities.

On Thursday, Sept. 10 at 7:02 p.m., the police were told of a confrontation on Main Street. A man, described as tall, having a pot belly and having gray hair with blue eyes, approached others “very angry saying they hit his car,” according to department logs. The people indicated they were not close to the vehicle and then drove off “because he got aggressive,” the police were told. The police logs indicated the confrontation was not physical.

A hit-and-run traffic accident was reported at or close to the intersection of Heber Avenue and Swede Alley at 4:45 p.m. Public police logs did not provide details. In an apparently unrelated case, a hit-and-run report was logged at 2:15 p.m. on Empire Avenue. The damage in the Empire Avenue case occurred sometime in the six days prior to the report.

The police at 1:30 p.m., received a complaint from someone on Prospector Avenue about a neighbor who was “blasting football.” The police classified the case as suspected disturbing the peace. A camper was reported to be on fire along S.R. 248 in the vicinity of Quinn’s Junction at 11:38 a.m. The camper was located close to a trail crossing, the police were told.

The Police Department at 9:21 a.m. was informed that a taxi firm had reportedly been using Miners Hospital as a location for staging. The practice had occurred for several weeks, the police were told.

On Wednesday, Sept. 9 at 4:24 p.m., a driver hit a vehicle in a Bonanza Drive parking lot, the police were told.

On Tuesday, Sept. 8 at 6:26 p.m., a driver hit a car on Main Street and left the scene before returning, the police were told.

On Monday, Sept. 7 at 9:54 p.m., up to four people were reported to be stuck in an elevator on Prospector Avenue.

Deer Valley owner says reservations at this point are not required to ski

Deer Valley Resort owner Alterra Mountain Company on Monday outlined some of the details of the plans for the first ski season in the era of social distancing, indicating reservations as of now will not be needed to ski at Deer Valley during the upcoming season.

The firm, though, said it will put in temporary regulations or eliminate some sorts of day passes to control the number of people on the slopes. It said the plans could be modified, but operational changes designed to address social distancing can be accomplished that eliminate the requirement of a reservation system.

The firm also eliminated walk-up sales of lift tickets, meaning that advance purchase is necessary for daily lift tickets. It said most products with undated lift tickets have been discontinued for now.

The Colorado-based Alterra Mountain Company release did not address the individual resorts. Deer Valley has long capped the number of skiers allowed on the slopes on any given day. It was not clear whether the social distancing measures would impact the skier caps at Deer Valley, long a key selling point of the resort that is meant to reduce crowds. The release also said skiers can learn details about safety measures from the individual resorts.

Deer Valley is scheduled to open on Dec. 5. Deer Valley anticipates releasing more information about resort season passes and the resort’s operations plan by the middle of October.

“The health and safety of all guests and employees is a top priority for all Ikon Pass destinations and each will help minimize the risk of contagion by following all local and federal health and safety protocols. All guests should check with each destination prior to arrival to learn about face covering requirements, social distancing, and cleanliness and disinfection protocols and any other requirements that might impact their visit,” the release said.

The Deer Valley website early in the week continued to offer information about the summer operations plans designed to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus. The summer operations includes steps like cleaning, limits on guests, social distancing in lift lines and restrictions on restaurant seating.

The website early in the week did not include a readily available operations plan for the winter. It seems likely Deer Valley later in the fall will provide more details about the ski season operations. Information about topics like the restaurant seating, ski lessons and the management of lift lines and lift seating is likely forthcoming. Some of the details are expected to depend on the public health orders in place at the time.

The information from Alterra Mountain Company was released less than three months prior to the scheduled start of the ski season at Deer Valley. It was also timed shortly after Park City Mountain Resort owner Vail Resorts outlined its plans for the ski season. The Vail Resorts blueprints, offering significantly more detail than the initial plans released by Alterra Mountain Company on Monday, include a reservation system. The system is crucial to the overall operations plans at Vail Resorts properties like PCMR.

Park City still sees uncertain future for some businesses even after solid summer

Park City during certain stretches of the summer after Independence Day appeared to be as busy as it had been since the spread of the novel coronavirus forced an early end to the ski season.

Main Street was jammed on some days and the traffic across Park City was again noticeable as people poured into the city for day trips or longer stays.

But even with what was seen as a solid summer, City Hall this week indicated there is still a threat to businesses. The municipal government drafted a report in anticipation of a Park City Council meeting scheduled on Thursday that says “many local businesses are still suffering due to the mandated spring closures, social distancing regulations, and lack of Special Events and overall visitation.”

Jenny Diersen, the economic development program manager at City Hall, authored the report and also wrote “the time table for ‘recovery’ and the future of many local businesses remains uncertain” even as municipal staffers assigned to economic development continue “to support efforts to create a more flexible and adaptive business environment especially as we head into the fall (shoulder) season.”

The language of the report issued this week is similar to a Diersen-authored report that was written in early August. In the earlier report, Diersen also noted an uncertain future for many Park City businesses. The similarities between the two reports point to continued concern at City Hall regarding the business climate as the community moves through the shoulder season and as the scheduled start of the ski season approaches.

The early end to the 2019-2020 ski season was an initial blow to the Park City-area economy, but there were also a series of special event cancellations in the summer, including the Park Silly Sunday Market, the Tour of Utah bicycling race and the Park City Kimball Arts Festival. Still, the crowds during the summer were larger than many had expected. The Main Street pedestrian days, introduced in 2020, were among the draws.

The Historic Park City Alliance, which represents businesses in the Main Street core, earlier in September indicated the shopping, dining and entertainment strip is in a stronger position than it was as it reached the spring shoulder season. The leader of the Historic Park City Alliance recently said there remains a danger to some businesses but others exhibited resiliency in the summer. The summer sales were important to the long-term viability of some of the businesses in the Main Street core that were threatened in the spring, the Historic Park City Alliance has said.

The report distributed this week also offers a review of the summertime efforts to boost business, centered on the operations of the pedestrian days.

Mayor Andy Beerman and the City Council are scheduled to receive an update on Thursday, but it is not clear whether the elected officials will discuss Main Street at the meeting as well. The meeting is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. and will be held virtually. More information about the meeting on Thursday is available on the City Hall website, parkcity.org.

Obituary for Calvin (Cal) Goff

Calvin (Cal) Goff

June 5, 1933 – September 5, 2020

On Saturday, September 5, 2020, Calvin (Cal) Goff, loving husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather passed away at the age of 87.

Cal was born on June 5, 1933 in Park City, Utah to Cereal and Jessie (Halverson) Goff. On November 5, 1955 he married Catherine Polychronis. They raised a daughter, Debbie and two sons, Greg and Brad. He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War and a had a successful 35 year career with General Electric in Salt Lake City.

Cal was a kind, humble and gracious friend to everyone. His wit and charm were infectious and he easily and immediately befriended everyone. His sense of humor was memorable and almost everyone remembers one of his stories. When someone retells you one of his stories, it brings a smile to your face, a warmth to your heart and you knew they had connected with this great man. His passion to help people brought him tremendous happiness and he particularly enjoyed tinkering and building things.

Cal was preceded in death by his father, Cereal; his mother, Jessie and brother, Wayne and sister, Jacqueline. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Catherine; his three children Greg (Sylvia), Debbie and Brad (Lynn) and sisters, Beverly (Gene) and Noreen (Kurt). Cal has seven grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at noon on Friday, September 11 at Heber Valley Funeral Home on 288 North Main Street in Heber City, Utah followed by a graveside service at the Park City Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association at alz.org.

Park City School District publishes COVID-19 case numbers

The Park City School District last week released more details about how it will handle cases of COVID-19, including a commitment to publish the number of confirmed active cases in its schools each week and to communicate with parents whenever there is a confirmed case in their child’s classroom.

A posting on the district’s website includes a link to a spreadsheet that the district said will be updated each Friday. There may be a lag in the data, as confirmed positive cases will only be reported once people who have been in close contact with an infected person have been notified. The numbers will be updated once each week.

The first published results show two active cases — one each at Park City High School and Treasure Mountain Junior High School. A student involved in a third case, which Superintendent Jill Gildea said was at an elementary school, has recovered, and that data is not included in the spreadsheet.

Along with the commitment to publishing case numbers, the district sent a reminder that health data is private, and urged members of the school community not to use the information to denigrate others.

“Please refrain from speculating, shaming or blaming when a positive case at a school is identified,” a district letter states. “Despite all efforts, there is no ‘Covid-Free’ Zone. All are working diligently to maintain safety and cleanliness protocols to isolate and mitigate the spread of this virus.”

Many in the community were concerned with schools reopening, with some teachers decrying what they said was the lack of room to social distance. But Summit County Health Director Rich Bullough said there haven’t been as many cases tied to schools as he had anticipated, and that rumors that there are more cases than have been reported are not true.

“We believe our numbers, we believe our numbers are low, we believe they’re accurate. We believe it’s important for the public to see those,” Bullough said Tuesday.

He added that he had been in talks with state health officials, who he said plan to launch a statewide data dashboard with COVID-19 case information from school districts in coming days.

The district indicated it would cease publishing its case numbers once the effort is taken over by the state agency.

Bullough added that there have been no cases associated with North Summit or South Summit schools. One student in South Summit tested positive, he said, but had been attending school remotely.

In its announcement last week, the Park City School District also linked to a hundred-page state manual for guiding school districts’ responses to the novel coronavirus, last updated in early August. It includes many key definitions and protocols for how to respond to a positive test in a school environment, and is the document that Gildea said is guiding the district’s pandemic response.

When a member of the school community is diagnosed with COVID-19 — including students, teachers or other staff members — that triggers a protocol for everyone who is a “close contact” of that person to quarantine, as well.

In the Park City School District, Bullough said the average number of close contacts per case has been between 10 and 20. He indicated that those sitting in desks near the diagnosed student would quarantine, but those who sit farther away in the same classroom would not be required to do so.

The Utah Department of Health guidelines define a close contact as someone who has been within 6 feet of the person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 for more than 15 minutes up to two days before that person got sick or tested positive.

A person who has tested positive for COVID-19 may return to school once they have been fever-free for 24 hours without medicine and it has been at least 10 days since they first had symptoms or tested positive, according to the guidelines.

If a student was sitting next to someone in school who was diagnosed with COVID-19, that student would have to quarantine for 14 days, according to state guidelines. The members of that student’s family would not have to quarantine unless that student also tested positive.

Bullough said there is enough testing to sufficiently test close contacts of confirmed cases.

Officials have indicated that schools might have to go back to fully remote learning if case numbers prompt the county to revert to an “orange” level of pandemic response. Barring that, Bullough said that there are clear metrics for a school or classroom to quarantine: A classroom would move to remote learning if three or more students tested positive, while an entire school would do so if there were 15 positive cases, or cases in 10% of the student body, whichever amount is smaller.

The district stressed its increased sanitization protocols, including cleaning areas where students who have tested positive for COVID-19 have spent a considerable amount of time, like classrooms. Officials also reiterated the importance of preventive measures.

“We appreciate everyone doing their part to take care of themselves and others by wearing masks, physically distancing, practicing good hand hygiene, and staying home when ill,” the district stated in its online posting. “By continuing to reinforce these practices, we will be able to keep our schools open and provide a healthy and safe learning environment for all.”

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the district would notify parents whenever there is a positive case in their child’s school. Superintendent Jill Gildea clarified that parents will be notified only when there is a positive case in their child’s classroom or if there is spread of COVID-19 in a school beyond an isolated case.