Wasatch County Council Receives Report One Week Into ‘Stay At Home’ Order

Wasatch County is halfway through its original ‘Stay at Home’ order. While the results have been good, the end of the order will depend not only on Wasatch County but their neighbors to the north and west.

Wasatch County’s ‘Stay at Home’ order went into place last Wednesday.  After a week, County Health Department Director Randall Probst reported to the county council that they’re seeing promising data.

“Our numbers have not been continuing to escalate like they were,” Probst continued. “We’re not doubling and that’s encouraging. One other piece that I think is encouraging is prior to issuing the order and asking everybody to stay at home community spread was kind of all over. So, more recently we have seen—and this certainly isn’t clustering—but on occasion now we see the spread only happening within the same household. It’s not seeing the spread out so much of just community widespread. It’s more contained. That’s exactly what we’re hoping to have happen.”

Wasatch County per capita cases remain 2nd in the state only behind Summit County. Probst pointed out Wasatch County residents only make up about 1% of the state’s population, but Wasatch County cases make up 4% of COVID-19 cases. Probst noted that one key statistic they’re watching is the case numbers in the county’s neighbors especially Summit and Utah County whose case numbers are on the rise.

“Utah County’s numbers are about ready to take over the numbers in Summit County,” Probst said. “As we’ve talked before, our relationship with Summit County is very important and their numbers are still considerably higher than our numbers. The spillover we get between those, that’s kind of what drove some of the decisions that we made here. But now you see Utah County’s numbers rapidly approaching where Summit is, and they’ve just started. So in the last few days is where their cases have really begun to increase. So that also has a bearing on us, because we have so much crossover between here and Utah County.”

Intermountain Health Care has been providing testing at its campus at the south end of Heber. Probst says as part of an initiative, another testing site will be at the county events center parking lot starting either Thursday or Friday. Those who want to be tested can take an assessment at TestUtah.com

“You answer a few questions, if you qualify at the end of the survey it will give you a UPC code,” Probst explained. “You’ll just drive to the center and they will scan that code and you will be able to drive into their tent and be tested. The governor asked them specifically to consider coming here. They approached us and we said we would try and help accommodate that. But all tests still follow the same algorithm as used in all test sites across the state. You still have to be symptomatic in order to qualify to be tested, but anyone who has symptoms can now go to either of those sites.”

With at least one more week to go on the county order, Probst says they’ll be making the decision to extend or roll back the order depending on what’s happening in the county as well as county neighbors.

“As we think we’re really getting to a place where we’re starting to be able to relax some of the restrictions,” Probst continued. “Then I think we go through that same process like we did before, where we bring the essential leadership of our county together and we have some of those discussions. We weigh on both sides of the equation the impact of those decisions. So I think that’ll be a similar process to how we got the order in the first place.”

Probst says they will provide more direction as they approach the end of the second week. They are asking businesses to start thinking about how they can begin working again while maintaining social distancing, although he clarified that does not mean that it will be business as usual in a week.

Read the original story at KPCW.org

Heber Valley Artisan Cheese held their 2nd annual Ice Sculptures Exhibition this weekend. Several local businesses sponsored the sculptures being displayed. There were also two different ice carving demonstrations. The event was free to the public.

The annual event began last year when Carolee Kohler saw ice sculpting on a Hallmark movie and thought it would be a fun idea for their farm. They are also considering a woodcarving event.

According to Lindsey Strother, social media and events coordinator, each sculpture takes between 1-3 hours to carve. “We contacted Amazing Ice Creations back in November, and we reached out to local companies to sponsor the ice sculptures,” she said. “Yesterday morning around 9 am, they came in a massive truck and dropped them all off for us, and we set them up.”

Along with the ice sculptures, sponsors receive a sign and canopy for the display and social media marketing. The sponsors decide what they want to have sculpted. After the event, they can take the ice sculptures and display them at their businesses. The creations normally last a couple of weeks. Some will be left in the field and can be viewed throughout the week.

The ice this year included Olaf, company logos, animals, and other items. Darron Kingston, the sculptor, has carved ice for over 10 years with his dad. According to Kingston, “I like sculptures that give me a challenge. Here, for example, my favorite was the lumberjack.” One of his favorite past creations was a 9-foot bear.

Grant Kohler, owner of Heber Valley Artisan Cheese, explained, “We decided to do something that was free and something that people could just get out and come and enjoy. Especially this year with Covid, it seems like Januarys are slow months. People are looking for things to be able to get outside and do.” He continued, “Businesses pay in and buy the sculptures, we have them sculpted, and then we just let people come and enjoy them.” Kohler estimated around 3,000 to 4,000 people will stop by the event.

The dairy farm also offers cheese-making classes and tours of their new robotic barn. “The tours are everyday except Sunday,” according to Kohler. “People hayride over, intermingle with the cows, see the barn and amenities, and watch the cows be milked. The cows will literally go get milked on their own.” Tickets for the tours and other events are available on the Heber Valley Artisan Cheese website: https://hebervalleyartisancheese.com/.