This is Derek Miller Speaking on Business.

As the pandemic continues to evolve and we learn better methods to institute public health guidance a new COVID 19 Transmission Index was launched. This index will now replace the old phased guidelines of red, orange, yellow and green in order to streamline the response to protect communities. The risk levels will be automatic based solely on health department data per county.

The transmission index clarifies our public health metrics used to determine which counties will automatically fall under certain transmission levels. Counties will now be placed in one of three transmission levels categorized as High, Moderate, or Low. These new levels correspond directly to that county’s case rates, positivity rates, and overall state ICU utilization. Each one of these new categories carry with it different levels of restrictions for people and business.

For example, counties designated as “high risk” areas carry a mask requirement for public indoor settings, casual gatherings of family or friends should be less than 10 people and physical distancing. For moderate risk counties masks remain required and gatherings can increase to 25 or less.

Data will be analyzed weekly, and Utahns should stay up to date on your local transmission index. We can get through this challenge as we make informed decisions and follow public health best practices.

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I’m Derek Miller, with the Salt Lake Chamber, and this is “Speaking on Business.”