An elementary principal has died of the coronavirus and Utah reports 376 new cases

An elementary principal has died of the coronavirus and Utah reports 376 new cases

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Kelly Rindlisbacher, the principal of Nibley Elementary School, has died after a five-week battle with the coronavirus.

The Cache County School District said in a statement reported by The Cache Valley Daily on Saturday that it was “deeply saddened” by Rindlisbacher’s loss, calling him a “family member, friend, and fellow educator.”

“Kelly was an exceptional, dedicated educator with a long career in our district,” the release continued. “He will be greatly missed by his Cache County School District family.”

Rindlisbacher’s death does not appear to have been added to the state’s tally yet, as the Department of Health has not reported any Cache County fatalities this month.

As of Saturday, the state’s seven-day rolling average of cases — a key indicator watched by public health officials — now stands at 426 per day. Gov. Gary Herbert this week set a goal of getting that to 400 by Sept. 1.

Active hospitalizations have decreased by 7 and stand at 195 overall. And the number of coronavirus patients in intensive care units is now at 77, which is the lowest it has been in a month. Since the beginning of the outbreak, a total 2,604 people have been hospitalized.

Utah Sen. Deidre Henderson tweeted Saturday that she had tested positive for COVID-19, after revealing Friday that two of her immediate family members had contracted the coronavirus and that she was also starting to experience symptoms.

“No big surprise, my COVID test came back positive,” she wrote. “Stay safe out there, everyone. Wear your masks to protect others — by the time you have symptoms you’ve already been contagious for a couple of days and could have unknowingly infected other people.”

Henderson, who is the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor on the ticket with the party’s gubernatorial candidate, Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, is one of several state lawmakers who have come down with COVID-19.

Of those who have been infected, 33,115 Utahns are considered “recovered,” meaning they were diagnosed more than three weeks ago and have not died.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, who has so far resisted a statewide mask mandate, announced Saturday that he was extending an executive order requiring face masks in state facilities through Aug. 20 after determining it was an appropriate measure “to protect public health.”

That measure appears to have a limited scope, with the executive order noting it does not include state prisons or community correctional centers, or any building or structure that is “owned, leased, occupied or controlled by” the legislative or judiciary branches or the offices of the attorney general, state auditor or state treasurer.

State government entities do have the ability to refuse to provide in-person service to anyone who does not wear a mask, but only if there’s a different means of service available and employees outline how to access it and are sure the person has reasonable access to the alternative.

The Salt Lake Tribune will update this article.

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