Countless Utahns have stepped up to serve our state and our country during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their actions are inspiring, and they help save lives. I rise today to recognize some of these great efforts.
I would prefer to name individuals and their particular circumstances, but because of the tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of people who have participated, I’m going to talk about groups and organizations.
Health care workers from our state traveled across our state and also across our country. Intermountain Healthcare deployed two 50-person response teams to New York City hospitals to help handle the surge of patients there. Physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, and other health care professionals—they were there for weeks, often times 24-hour days.
In partnership with Intermountain, University of Utah Health has ramped up the state’s lab services, medication trials, and its testing capacity, including the HERO project, which has tested more than 10,000 Utahns to assess the disease spread throughout the state. The university’s Wellness Bus brought mobile testing to underserved areas across our state. Groups around campus are using 3-D printers to produce hundreds of face shields per day for the health care community.
The businesses of Silicon Slopes have helped expand state testing efforts through the “Test Utah Challenge.” Tens of thousands have been tested through this program.
The Utah Manufacturers Association, its membership and its businesses, have spearheaded the effort to provide a mask, free of charge, to every citizen of our state.
The World Trade Center Utah has partnered with my team to help make sure that local employers are able to access small business loans and other federal relief programs.
The Utah Food Bank is using mobile pantries to safely distribute food on a regular basis throughout the state, and teaming up with organizations like the Larry H. Miller Group to host state-wide food drives. The Utah Farm Bureau has purchased food from local farmers, and then helped distribute it to families in need.
Project Protect—in partnership with Intermountain, University of Utah Health, and Latter-day Saint Charities—have produced face shields, masks, and gowns for front-line caregivers throughout the state. To date, more than 30,000 volunteers have sewn more than three million masks.
Those are just some of the many extraordinary organizations and individuals that have come together to help their neighbors.
Our state’s pioneering heritage is a big part of what makes Utah a model of what we can do when we work together as a community.