Wasatch County Council Meets As County ‘Stay At Home’ Order Goes Into Effect

Wasatch County’s ‘Stay at Home’ order went into effect Wednesday morning. Wasatch County Council and invited city leadership sat in on a council meeting Wednesday afternoon.

In the buildup to the beginning of the order, Wasatch County Health Department Director Randall Probst reported they received a lot of calls on their information line.

“We’re trying to help as many people figure out what can happen, and what can’t happen as possible,” Probst explained. “I will tell you we’ve had by far a very positive response when they understand and they get to be able to ask their questions and figure out how it affects them and what it does. I just want to compliment and I’m very grateful for our community for how they’ve responded in the last two days even before it becomes effective.”

Probst says they don’t want to have to police everything in the order, but they have seen and heard reports of people ignoring social distancing outdoors.

“I know this sounds hard and I personally don’t know why it’s so hard,” Probst continued. “I don’t know why it’s hard to stay home for two weeks, if I’m honest. Most of the people I’m talking to are saying it’s a relief. It’s a relief to know that they now have the order because now they’re not expected to go do things and go places.

Probst said he hopes the community is getting the message of how urgent the situation is.

“This could take off and destroy our community, as easy as it can any other community,” Probst said. “So, we’re really being careful. Those of you that know me know that I would not issue an order. I’m not one that believes that we need orders to help people do the right thing. I think the education is good, but I don’t see that the average person is really still thinking this is as serious as it may be. That’s because maybe they’ve not been impacted by it yet, but when you look at the models and when you see what’s happening and the potential how fast this can go. I have to tell you as the health officer it scares me.”

Probst says he believes the order is necessary for the next two weeks, and potentially longer as they evaluate. The department hopes to be able to relax the order as soon as they believe the county has turned a corner and change their ratios.

“We think we’re doing well, but the reality is we don’t know,” Probst explained. “It takes two weeks to know if what we did today, makes a difference. Because this virus has a 14-day incubation period it can happen anywhere in those 14 days.”

Probst also answered questions about hospital use. Of the 91 statewide hospitalizations of COVID-19 cases around 15-20% of those are in Intensive Care Units. Wasatch County has had four hospitalized cases, those cases have been treated at Heber and Park City hospitals. Probst says some have been discharged but he can’t say which, if any, of those cases require ICU care or respirators as the numbers are so low, they could potentially reveal who the patients are to the community.

“If that information is going to help somebody make better decisions, we’re trying to evaluate that,” Probst continued. “The time it takes to do a lot of these things we try and balance that against the benefit of what that’s going to do to help somebody.”

Probst reports the county has about 14 recovered cases. He thinks recovery data and ICU beds available will eventually be included on the state dashboard.

At the meeting council also approved a resolution that would allow them to hold meetings remotely. Council also opened an email for residents to provide public comment leading up to council meetings. That email is [email protected]

Read the original story at KPCW.org