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Summit County Health Department says masks are working to reduce cases locally

Summit County’s mask mandate, effective June 27, appears to correlate with a decline in case numbers locally, the county health department said Wednesday.
Tanzi Propst/Park Record

When Salt Lake County released initial findings earlier this month that its mask mandate had correlated with a decline in cases there even larger than a simultaneous statewide decline, Summit County’s health director was cautiously optimistic the same was true here.

Though the data appeared to tell a similar story, the county’s relatively small health department didn’t have the resources to perform a detailed data analysis, Bullough said, so he asked the state to help.

The results came back this week and Bullough said they indicate that the county’s mask mandate is working.

“This decline (in COVID-19 cases) correlates with the adoption of Summit County’s mandatory face-covering order on June 26,” according to a press release from the Health Department. “… Findings indicate that the rate and magnitude of decline in new cases was significantly greater in Summit County than was observed state-wide.”

The Summit County Health Department released data Wednesday that appears to show the imposition of the county’s mask mandate has correlated with a statistically significant drop in case numbers.
Courtesy of the Summit County Health Department

According to the release, the number of new cases reported daily increased between June 27 and July 11 and then began to plateau. Following the virus’ two-week incubation period after the Fourth of July holiday, a consistent decline in new cases began, aside from a single-day spike.

“The data are clear: Wearing a face covering decreases the spread of COVID-19 in our communities,” Bullough said in the press release. “Our economic and health outlook for the fall and winter is much more favorable if we can maintain this trend through community effort. We are hopeful these data encourage our residents and visitors to remain vigilant in wearing face coverings. Their efforts are clearly paying off.”

The mask order took effect June 27 and has since been modified to accommodate requests from heavily impacted parties, like day-care centers and fitness centers.

County officials have said that it is one of the last tools they have at their disposal to stem the tide of the pandemic locally and prevent another economic shutdown.

Summit County Council Chair Doug Clyde said in the press release he was encouraged by the recent progress.

“Our situation at the end of June was extremely troubling but thanks to our residents and businesses, we have turned the corner,” Clyde said in the press release. “We hope to hold this course by continuing to properly wear masks and only gathering when and where it is safe and smart to do so.”


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