SALT LAKE CITY — Utah reported its second-highest daily number of new coronavirus cases Thursday as the state deals with a troubling surge that has already led the state’s Republican governor to enact a face mask requirement at certain state buildings and pause before lifting more business restrictions.
The 590 new COVID-19 cases are the second-most since the pandemic began, behind only the 643 tallied Saturday, state health department figures show.
The state has averaged 503 cases per day over the last week — more than double the 200-per-day rate the state’s epidemiologist recommended that state should be at by July 1 to avoid considering a total shutdown of the economy.
Gov. Gary Herbert has said he will not shut down the economy, but has agreed to wait at least two weeks before loosening any more restrictions. The surge in cases began after he allowed restaurants, gyms, salons and other businesses to reopen last month and approved larger gatherings of people.
Herbert wants everyone to wear masks, but has stopped short of implementing a statewide requirement. Instead, he wants counties to ask his permission if they want to make them mandatory.