SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has asked all its members in Utah to wear face coverings when in public, a request that comes as confirmed infections in the state increase.
The Deseret News reports that the Utah Area Presidency sent out the request in an email on Friday evening. The area presidency operates under the authority of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
“Now we ask all Latter-day Saints in the Utah Area to be good citizens by wearing face coverings when in public,” the email said. “Doing so will help promote the health and general welfare of all.”
About 62% of Utah’s 3.1 million residents are members of the church.
Nearly 900 new cases were reported in the state on Friday, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. Overall, Utah had 28,223 confirmed cases and 207 deaths due to the virus as of Saturday. The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.