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Gov. Herbert Announces New State Of Emergency, Weighs In On PPE In Schools And US Census

Photo of Governor Gary Herbert
File / KUER
Gov. Gary Herbert addressed the press today on PBS Utah.

At a press conference Thursday, Gov. Gary Herbert weighed in on several high profile issues, including extending the COVID-19 state of emergency and personal protective equipment in schools. 

New State of Emergency

Herbert announced that he will issue a new state of emergency for the COVID-19 pandemic. It will take effect Friday at midnight when the current declaration expires. 

It gives the governor expanded powers, and makes it easier for Utah to qualify for federal aid. 

The Legislature opted not to extend the current order, saying it’s been in place for too long. But Herbert argued that it’s necessary. 

“This declaration of emergency allows the governor to be very quick in making response under an emergency type situation,” Herbert said. “If we were not to do this, we would be the only state of the 50 that would not have an emergency declaration in place during this pandemic.”

The order is set to expire after 30 days. 


Personal Protective Equipment In Schools

The state has said it will send five KN95 masks and two face shields to all public school teachers and staff to help schools control the spread of COVID-19 as they reopen. 

Some teachers have reported not receiving that PPE, however. 

“We don't exactly know why,” Herbert said, adding that the problem was in distribution, not the state’s supply. “That's a question for the districts to answer.”


U.S. Census

Gov. Herbert encouraged Utahns to complete the Census. 68% of residents have done so, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

“That’s too low,” Herbert said. 

The deadline to complete the survey is September 30, a month earlier than usual.

“The demographics, the information we get from the Census will help us, in fact, work with the federal government” to get funding, Herbert said.

He added that the response rates in Emery, Wayne, San Juan, Piute, Beaver and Garfield counties are lower than usual. 


Sonja Hutson is a politics and government reporter at KUER.
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