While the rest of the nation mobilized to fight influenza in the fall of 1918, Salt Lake City looked like it might be spared from the dreaded epidemic. As September rolled into October, no cases were reported in town. Residents certainly knew of the epidemic raging across the United States, having received regular news of influenza since at least mid-September.1 On September 27, the health commissioner of the Salt Lake, Dr. Samuel G. Paul, told residents that, while influenza was high contagious, it was also readily preventable with just a little care on the part of the public. He warned that the disease was spread through particles released by coughing or sneezing, and that covering your mouth and nose with a handkerchief would greatly reduce the dissemination of the germ. He added that, in the event influenza made its way to Salt Lake City, the Board of Health would take whatever action it thought necessary to fight the epidemic.2
On the afternoon of October 4, the Salt Lake City Board of Health met to discuss the small number of influenza cases that had been discovered in the city and to decide what action to take to try to stop the disease from spreading. The Board believed that there were eight to ten cases, all spread from a family from Wyoming that had come to attend the state fair. The health department had isolated all of the cases. At the state level, Dr. T. B. Beatty, Utah’s health commissioner, ordered physicians to report all cases and to isolate all patients.3 Both Paul and Beatty expected more cases to appear in Salt Lake City and across Utah. Later that day, Beatty requested that town officials in Coalville, some 40 miles northeast of Salt Lake City, close schools and places of public gathering after a dozen influenza cases were discovered there. For the time being, Salt Lake health officials did not feel the situation was serious enough to take action beyond the isolation of cases.4
Within a week, several dozen new cases and a handful of deaths were reported in Salt Lake City. The situation was similar in other communities across Utah, including in nearby Coalville, where even the mayor and his family had fallen ill with influenza.5 State health commissioner and the Utah board of health decided that action was needed, and on October 9 ordered closed all churches and Sunday schools, public schools and universities, theaters, movie houses, public meetings, pool halls, dance halls and private dances, and prohibited public gatherings of all kinds, effective the morning of October 10.6 Utah was shut down.
In Salt Lake City, health officer Paul was upset by the state order. “The general closing order,” he said, “is mere hysteria. There is no occasion whatever for closing down any business, and certainly no good reason whatever for closing the public schools.” He was most bothered by the fact that state officials did not bother to ascertain the situation in Salt Lake City before issuing the order. He believed that children were best left in schools, arguing that they would mingle as much out of school as they would in their classrooms. More effective than the closing order, he argued, would be an order to prohibit funerals (because surviving family members would most likely have had contact with the deceased and would likely have influenza themselves) or an order to keep streetcars well ventilated.7 Paul had not issued either of these two purportedly more effective measures, however.
To prepare for the worst, Red Cross officials hurriedly began renovating Judge Mercy Hospital for emergency use to isolate as many patients as possible. Beatty asked all city hospitals to stop accepting influenza patients as soon as the new hospital was ready, in the hopes of containing all the cases there.8 Red Cross volunteers worked with amazing speed to have the new facility operational in three days, opening the doors for influenza patients on October 13.9
On October 16, military offices at Fort Douglas–located on the outskirts of the city–issued a wholesale quarantine of the military post. To prevent the spread of influenza either into or out of the fort, Captain and post commander J. O’C. Hunt announced that all civilian visitors would be barred from entering the post, and all soldiers prohibited from leaving. Under very strict guidelines, relatives of very sick soldiers–there were several dozen cases among soldiers and University of Utah Student Army Training Corps cadets–would be permitted to enter the base to visit their kin. Delivery wagons and government vehicles would continue to be made, but the number of incomers would be kept to a minimum and their time on the post limited to as short a duration as possible.10
Meanwhile, the epidemic was growing worse among Salt Lake City’s civilian population. Over one hundred new cases of influenza were reported to the city board of health on October 18 alone, among them an increasing number of children and young adults.11 The death toll was also rising.12 Two days later, however, as the daily tally for new cases dropped, health authorities in the city declared that the peak had been reached and that the epidemic would begin to subside over the coming days and weeks.13 In fact, the new cases kept mounting.14 Unable to stem the tide, the Utah board of health discussed a statewide mask order at its meeting on October 25. The belief, or at least hope, was that the wearing of masks would spare Utah towns and cities the incredibly high case and death toll that plagued the East Coast. “No person need fear influenza if the protective gauze mask is worn,” Beatty announced. He even stated that the mask need not fit tightly in order to function, but could simply drape over the nose and mouth. The resolution called for all people in offices, businesses, or public places (except on the street) to wear a mask.15 In the end, the mandatory mask order was not put into effect.
The epidemic in Salt Lake City rolled on, gaining momentum. On October 28, 147 cases and 11 deaths were reported. It was the single highest case tally to date. The local chapter of the Red Cross was swamped with calls for help. Eight of the most urgent calls of the day went unanswered for lack of nurses. 16 As the month came to a close, the epidemic numbers began to look increasingly grim. Over 2,400 cases had been reported since the start of the epidemic, with nearly 130 deaths.17 Beatty and the Utah board of health were at a loss as to how to control the disease. Believing that the latest cases were primarily among family members of patients who were transmitting it to others, they resorted to placarding all houses of influenza patients. Family members and necessary caretakers were to don gauze masks when in the house. Beatty warned that failure to comply with the placarding rules would result in the entire house being placed under quarantine, undoubtedly causing a severe hardship for the family.18
Finally, on the last day of October, authorities believed the city had rounded the bend in the epidemic, although they were quick to discourage false hope in the latest influenza tallies.19 As October gave way to November, the trend held. By November 8, Salt Lake City health commissioner Samuel Paul announced that the emergency hospital would likely be closed soon for lack of new patients. Beatty announced that the closure orders would be lifted in three Utah towns within a few days, hinting that the ban soon would be removed from the entire state as conditions warranted.20 Three days later, on November 11, only twenty-two patients were in the emergency hospital, and Paul ordered that no new patients be admitted there unless the epidemic returned.21 The next day, the hospital was closed and the fourteen remaining patients were either sent home or transferred to regular city hospitals.22 The outlook in Salt Lake City was beginning to shape up for the better.
The Armistice Day celebrations put a kink in the plans, however. Because of the large-scale public gatherings, Beatty was concerned that the epidemic would once again begin to rage. He therefore deferred consideration of re-opening schools in Salt Lake City until the effects of the celebrations on the epidemic could be studied. “There were so many opportunities for close contact in the crowds and among the dancers of Monday” Beatty said on Wednesday, November 13, “that if there is still an active epidemic character to the infection, it will lead to a sharp increase in the number of cases.”23 Sure enough, reports for the following day–125 new cases–indicated a rise. Dr. Paul was less alarmist, arguing that 44 of those cases were not new and that 25 of them were not checked before the statistics were released. Beatty believed caution was the better part of valor, however, and refused to lift the closure order. “We would be taking chances on losing all we have gained through the restrictive measures if we rescinded the closing order at this time,” he announced.24 The closure order was to stay in place for the time being.
School officials were eager to reopen their classrooms. On November 20, Superintendent Ernest Smith announced that, in order to fit the necessary work into the remainder of the school year, all non-essential portions of the curriculum would have to be removed. The school board developed a plan that would approximate a year’s-worth of study and compress it into the time available. As part of this plan, holidays would be shortened but not removed. Smith hoped that the revised curriculum would suffice. He also hoped that all the high school students would return to the classes once schools reopened. The fear was that many had taken the impromptu “vacation” created by the closure order to obtain jobs. Smith hoped that Beatty would allow schools to reopen by November 25.25
That same day, a committee of five businessmen was appointed to help devise measures to combat the epidemic that would be both effective as well as amenable to the business community. The group believed that the isolation of cases would be most effective. 26 It also proposed staggering business hours to prevent crowding in streetcars and shops. Grocers, clothing and department stores, and five-and-dime shops would be regulated, while restaurants, cafes, and drug stores would maintain their normal hours but could not allow crowds to form.27 City and state health officials approved the plan and put it into effect on the morning of November 22. In addition to these staggered business hours, passenger limits were placed on streetcars (75 for large cars, and 50 for small ones), and shops were prohibited from holding or advertising sales. One committee member, annoyed that such measures were required, blamed the public for failing to prevent the spread of the epidemic. “If the public had cooperated with the board of health and followed the suggestions of Dr. Beatty more closely,” he said, “it is likely the epidemic would have been under control before now.”28
Over the course of the next week, as November gave way to December, the epidemic situation in Salt Lake City seemed to improve slowly. Beatty was still cautious and not yet ready to lift the closure orders, however. Instead, the board of health considered issuing a mandatory mask order in the hopes that it would stamp out the disease once and for all. On the evening of November 29, city physicians, Fort Douglas medical officers, city and state health officials, and representatives of the business community met to discuss the possibility of a mask order. The majority of physicians present objected to the use of masks by the general public, arguing that they hand only minor preventive effects at best. A mask order, they believed, would entice people to relax their vigilance, owing to the false sense of security the gauze provided.29 “Even if used intelligently,” Beatty said, “The value of the mask has been considered only relative, and no such as to justify the weakening of the efforts of the health authorities to emphasize and enforce the real and vital measures for the control of the disease.” In the end, the Utah board of health decided against passing a mandatory mask order.30
Instead, authorities relied heavily on quarantining households with influenza cases and on a public vaccination campaign, using both the Leary and Rosenau sera in the hopes that together they would provide protection from influenza and pneumonia. Free inoculation clinics were established across the city, and all residents were urged to get their vaccination.31 As thousands of residents lined up for their vaccinations and as city authorities worked hard to isolate cases and quarantine infected households, and, more important, as the epidemic naturally ebbed, Beatty began to feel more comfortable with the prospect of lifting the closure order.32 On Friday, December 6, the state and city boards of health met and unanimously voted to modify the closure order. Churches would be allowed to reopen on Sunday, and theaters could open for business once again starting on Monday. Schools would remain closed until at least the end of the year, however, and dances and public gatherings were still prohibited.33 The thousand or so workers who had been without unemployment due to the closure order were happy to return to their jobs, and their paychecks.34 Children were undoubtedly happy about their closure remaining in place, but school officials were not. Teachers still needed to be paid, and missed instruction time still needed to be made up. The board of education believed that public schools were less likely to be places of contagion than were theaters and movie houses, and passed a resolution calling on the health department to give preference to reopening schools over theaters and movie houses.35 To placate school officials, theater and movie house managers unanimously voted to exclude children under 14 from their establishments until the schools were reopened.36
As Salt Lake City slowly reopened, other Utah communities moved in the opposite direction. Officials in Ogden, 35 miles north of Salt Lake City, placed the entire town under a form of protective sequestration. All outsiders entering the town from a community where quarantine restrictions were not as strict as in Ogden would be required to present a certificate of good health issued not more than 24 hours prior. Special guards were placed at all the entrance points to the town to check for these certificates and to turn back those who did not possess them.37 Park City, approximately 15 miles southeast of Salt Lake City as the crow flies, barred everyone except soldiers from entering the town; incoming soldiers were placed in quarantine for 48 hours to ensure they were disease-free.38 In surrounding Salt Lake County, where a closure order was still in effect, county officials complained to the governor that the partial reopening of the city placed county residents at risk while also negatively impacting county business interests.39
The number of new cases continued to decline as Christmas approached, with most of them developing in households already under quarantine. Schools were scheduled to reopen on December 26, but that date soon was pushed back to December 30 to provide time for teachers and principals to finalize plans for making up lost instruction time. When they did reopen, an extra hour was added to the school day, taking grammar schools until 4:00 pm and high schools until 3:20 pm for the rest of the school year.40 Teachers were instructed to monitor students for symptoms of influenza and to send sick children home until a school nurse or health official cleared the patient to return to the classroom. Children were required to bring in a report on influenza cases–both past and present–in the household.41 The first day saw better than expected attendance at Salt Lake City schools, with rates as high as 90% in some schools. Officials attributed some of the absences in the high schools to students finding employment during the closure period.42
Salt Lake City continued to see handfuls of influenza cases develop throughout the rest of the winter, although never at the same levels experienced during the fall. Still, health authorities did not relax their guard. At least one physician, a Dr. Openshaw, was arrested for failure to report a case of influenza.43 Despite a significant drop-off of cases in February, the health department continued to quarantine houses each day, well into April. By the end of its epidemic, Salt Lake City experienced a total of 10,268 reported cases, nearly nine percent of its population. Of those who fell ill, 576 residents died as a result of influenza or pneumonia, a case fatality ratio of 5.6 percent.44
1 See, for example, “Blue Reports on Influenza,” Salt Lake Tribune, 14 Sept. 1918, 13, and “War Is Begun on Influenza,” Salt Lake Tribune, 20 Sept. 1918, 13.
2 “Influenza Is Readily Prevented, Says Paul,” Salt Lake Tribune, 27 Sept. 1918, 11.
3 “Preparing Here for Spanish Influenza,” Salt Lake Tribune, 4 Oct. 1918, 20.
4 “Disease Appears in Utah Centers,” Salt Lake Tribune, 5 Oct. 1918, 1.
5 “Influenza Claims 63 New Cases Here,” Salt Lake Tribune, 9 Oct. 1918, 16.
6 “Drastic Action Is Taken by Officials,” Salt Lake Tribune, 10 Oct. 1918, 1.
7 “Drastic Action Is Taken by Officials,” Salt Lake Tribune, 10, Oct. 1918, 1.
8 “Hurry Work on Preparing Hospital for Emergency Use,” Salt Lake Tribune, 10 Oct. 1918, 11.
9 “Fifty Towns in Grip of Influenza,” Salt Lake Tribune, 13 Oct. 1918, 24.
10 “Fort Douglas Is Now Quarantined,” Salt Lake Tribune, 17 Oct. 1918, 14.
11 “Influenza Takes Still Firmer Grip,” Salt Lake Tribune, 18 Oct. 1918, 14.
12 “Influenza Spreading in Salt Lake City,” Salt Lake Tribune, 19 Oct. 1918, 14.
13 “Disease at Apex, Doctors Declare,” Salt Lake Tribune, 20 Oct. 1918, 24. On the evening of October 21, Beatty announced that “Spanish influenza in Utah is checked for the time being,” basing his assessment on the stable number of new influenza cases reported to his office from communities across the state for the previous two days. See “Disease Is Checked, Dr. Beatty Reports,” Salt Lake Tribune, 22, Oct. 1918, 16.
14 “Dread Influenza Still Grips Utah, Salt Lake Tribune, 23 Oct. 1918, 14. One hundred and eleven new cases were reported in the city on October 23, and similar numbers were reported for subsequent days. See, for example, “Wearing of Masks Made Mandatory,” Salt Lake Tribune, 26 Oct. 1918, 16.
15 “Wearing of Masks Made Mandatory,” Salt Lake Tribune, 26 Oct. 1918, 16.
16 “Influenza Increases Here; State Improving,” Salt Lake Tribune, 28 Oct. 1918, 1.
17 “Influenza Situation Given at a Glance,” Salt Lake Tribune, 31 Oct. 1918, 16.
18 “Homes of Victims to Be Placarded,” Salt Lake Tribune, 30 Oct. 1918, 16.
19 “Influenza Ravages Show Slow but Steady Decrease,” Salt Lake Tribune, 31 Oct. 1918, 16.
20 “Influenza Now Reported Waning,” Salt Lake Tribune, 8 Nov. 1918, 9.
21 “Influenza Under Control Locally,” Salt Lake Tribune, 11 Nov. 1918, 14.
22 “Four Deaths are Influenza’s Toll,” Salt Lake Tribune, 12 Nov. 1918, 16.
23 “Defer Action on Reopening Order,” Salt Lake Tribune, 13 Nov. 1918, 4.
24 “Lifting of Ban Is Still in Abeyance,” Salt Lake Tribune, 15 Nov. 1918, 15.
25 “Enforced Vacation Worries Teachers,” Salt Lake Tribune, 20 Nov. 1918, 16.
26 “Plan to Put End to Epidemic Here,” Salt Lake Tribune, 20 Nov. 1918, 16.
27 “Plan Drastic Step to Conquer ‘Flu,’” Salt Lake Tribune, 21 Nov. 1918, 8.
28 ‘Flu’ Closing Ban Starting in City,” Salt Lake Tribune, 22 Nov. 1918, 14.
29 “’Flu’ Mask Issue up to Board of Health,” Salt Lake Tribune, 30 Nov. 1918, 1.
30 “Dr. Beatty Makes Plain His Position of Mask Question,” Salt Lake Tribune, 30 Nov. 1918, 9. The Salt Lake County commissioners did, however, make mask use compulsory
31 “Open Inoculation Stations to Stem Progress of ‘Flu,’” Salt Lake Tribune, 1 Dec. 1918, 24. The Leary formula was developed by Dr. Timothy Leary, a bacteriologist at Tufts College Medical School in Boston, using three strains of influenza bacilli. See Timothy Leary, “The Use of Influenza Vaccine in the Present Epidemic,” American Journal of Public Health 8(10):754-755,768.
32 For example, on December 5 alone, 1, 365 residents received their free vaccination, and 67 houses were quarantined, and only one influenza death was reported. See, “But One Flu Death Reported Thursday,” Salt Lake Tribune, 6 Dec. 1918, 16.
33 “Salt Lake Churches Will open Tomorrow,” Salt Lake Tribune, 7 Dec. 1918, 1.
34 “Influenza Rules Will Be Rigidly Enforced,” Salt Lake Tribune, 8 Dec. 1918, 1.
35 “Board Protests School Closing,” Salt Lake Tribune, 11 Dec. 1918, 2.
36 “Exclude All Children from Theaters,” Salt Lake Tribune, 12 Dec. 1918, 9.
37 “Ogden Takes Steps to Restrict Entry; Drastic Rule Made,” Salt Lake Tribune, 8 Dec. 1918, 19.
38 “Decrease in New Flu Cases Noted,” Salt Lake Tribune, 9 Dec. 1918, 12.
39 “New ‘Flu’ Cases Drop to Fifty-Nine,” Salt Lake Tribune, 10 Dec. 1918, 12.
40 “City Schools open on Monday Morning,” Salt Lake Tribune, 24 Dec. 1918, 16.
41 “Teachers Meet for Institute Work,” Salt Lake Tribune, 28 Dec. 1918, 4.
42 “City Schools Open; Attendance Large,” Salt Lake Tribune, 31 Dec. 1918, 5.
43 “Forty-Nine ‘Flu’ Cases Reported in Town,” Salt Lake Tribune, 31 Jan. 1919, 16.
44 “Flu in February Shows Big Decline,” Salt Lake Tribune, 1 March 1919, 16.
|200||Excess Death Rate (per 100,000)|
November 1, 1918
Dr. Theodore Bruce Beatty, State Health Commissioner, says that influenza conditions throughout the state are steadily improving. 14 influenza victims are reported.
November 2, 1918
Public gathering places will not be opened until November 15. State Health Commissioner Beatty says, “The man or woman who knowingly goes about the city while suffering with influenza is a criminal.” He asks the public to report such incidents to the police. The Board of Education and heads of schools request that schools be opened next Monday, but Beatty refuses.
November 3, 1918
An increase in new cases throughout the state is blamed on overconfidence at the decrease in cases reported Thursday (10/31) and Friday (11/1). The Red Cross is unable to meet the demand for nurses and reissues a request for volunteers. Laundries are refusing to accept items from homes with the infection.
November 4, 1918
City and county commissioners are asked to start an emergency fund of at least $5,000 for families who have lost their breadwinner. Dr. Samuel G. Paul, Head of the City Health Department, states that local flu has been defeated, but urges citizens to maintain vigilance. The Red Cross appeals to working women to volunteer their time.
November 5, 1918
County commissioners elect to zone the county into five sections with a resident physician in charge of each section. The City appropriates $400 for supplies for the City cemetery for the influenza crisis.
November 6, 1918
State Health Commissioner Beatty states that the closing order may soon be lifted in many communities if conditions continue to improve.
November 7, 1918
State Health Commissioner Beatty contacts large western cities to request information on when they plan to lift closing orders. The sole response is Los Angeles, which states that they will wait until near normal conditions return. Fort Douglas reports no new cases admitted, pneumonia cases developed, or deaths due to influenza yesterday.
November 8, 1918
Dr. Paul announces that the emergency hospital will likely close soon for lack of patients. The Fort Douglas isolation hospital reports 4th day without new cases of influenza, pneumonia, or deaths. The State Health Department decides to lift closing orders on November 18 if the epidemic continues to improve.
November 9, 1918
All local Red Cross supplies of cots and beds have been exhausted, and more are requisitioned. A vaccine is now available for those who would like the treatment. The zoning method of combating flu is put into effect today.
November 10, 1918
There are still no new flu patients or reported deaths due to influenza at the Fort Douglas isolation hospital. The Red Cross gauze room needs more volunteers. 20 to 40 should work nightly, and in the past week there have been several nights with only 4 volunteers.
November 11, 1918
The emergency hospital now holds only 22 patients, and orders are given to accept no more patients unless the epidemic returns.
November 12, 1918
The Judge Mercy emergency hospital closes today. Any of the 14 remaining patients who are not able to return home will be transferred to other hospitals
November 13, 1918
The Red Cross appeals for nurses, offering salary and expenses. One new case is admitted to Fort Douglas isolation hospital.
November 14, 1918
Four new cases are admitted to the Fort Douglas isolation hospital.
November 15, 1918
The Fort Douglas quarantine is to remain in place until Salt Lake closing orders are raised.
November 16, 1918
State Health Commissioner Beatty states that schools will open a week from next Monday at the earliest. Theaters and other gathering places may open prior to schools. Fort Douglas reports one death.
November 17, 1918
State Health Commissioner Beatty requests that the police stop crowds from gathering at sales in downtown stores, and that they halt overcrowded streetcars.
November 18, 1918
Health officials declare the epidemic to be under control. State Health Commissioner Beatty says that no decision has been made on lifting the closing order.
November 19, 1918
State Health Commissioner Beatty states that the increase in deaths today is the result of the rise in new cases following peace celebrations. Physicians are reminded to report new cases immediately.
November 20, 1918
Schools have now been closed in excess of six weeks, and school officials develop a plan to help students make up their studies within the remaining school time available. The Red Cross calls for more volunteer nurses. A committee of five businessmen is appointed to cooperate with the boards of health to help devise measures to combat influenza.
November 21, 1918
The committee of five businessmen proposes a plan that includes controlling shop hours. Failure to report new flu cases will carry proposed penalty of $300 fine or six months in jail. The Fort Douglas isolation hospital reports no new cases or deaths.
November 22, 1918
The plan to control shop hours was approved by City and State health officials, and is put into effect today. Passenger limits are placed on streetcars, and shops are prohibited from holding and advertising sales.
November 23, 1918
The Red Cross asks teachers to return to volunteer work. The City Board of Health decides not to pass a mask ordinance at the present time, but waits to see how the closing order would affect the influenza.
November 24, 1918
Placards are placed on front and rear entrances of 2,000 homes containing influenza victims today. The Fort Douglas isolation hospital reports eight new cases of influenza.
November 26, 1918
State Health Commissioner Beatty warns people to continue to follow anti-influenza measures.
November 27, 1918
The Fort Douglas isolation hospital admits 5 new cases. The Red Cross still needs nurses.
November 28, 1918
All public gatherings remain banned.
November 29, 1918
State Health Commissioner Beatty states that a decrease in new cases might make lifting of ban possible soon.
November 30, 1918
State Health Commissioner Beatty and Dr. Paul state that deaths from flu generally occur 7-8 days after infection. Mr. Swanson, the theater representative, protests continued closures while certain stores downtown remained crowded during business hours. The emergency hospital gives more than 100 vaccinations.
December 1, 1918
Influenza inoculation stations are set up throughout the city. The Fort Douglas isolation hospital reports more than 130 cases of influenza currently in the wards. City Board of Health announces that the public is urged to get vaccinated, all households with flu cases are to be placed under quarantine, and all those released from quarantine must wear a flu mask for 7 days.
December 2, 1918
State Health Commissioner Beatty reminds the public that all vaccinations are free in Salt Lake and urges towns throughout the state to do the same. The Red Cross still needs nurses.
December 3, 1918
Twenty-two Salt Lake physicians issue a statement concerning the danger of universal adoption of flu masks.
December 4, 1918
Two new health inspectors are appointed and given cars to help establish quarantines on influenza homes. Three new cases are admitted and two deaths are reported at the Fort Douglas isolation hospital. 1,012 people receive vaccinations.
December 5, 1918
Three deaths and five new cases are reported at the Fort Douglas isolation hospital. The Salt Lake Public Safety Committee appoints a subcommittee to investigate the advisability of “closing the entire city up tight for several days.” Sixty-seven houses are quarantined.
December 6, 1918
Two cases of families concealing influenza are reported and will be investigated. The Red Cross gauze room will remain open and volunteers are requested to make 5000 masks for Salt Lake County. State and City health boards unanimously vote to modify the closing ban: churches and theaters will open Sunday (12/8) and Monday (12/9) respectively, while schools, dances, public funerals remain banned.
December 7, 1918
Families of hospitalized soldiers request to remove their sons to their homes. Passes are issued to any soldiers wishing to return home in anticipation of demobilization.
December 8, 1918
Churches are allowed to open today. 1,000 workers in Salt Lake have been without work since the closing order went into effect. The Fort Douglas isolation hospital reports five deaths and six new cases admitted. Streetcars are limited to 50/75 passengers depending on size, and elevators are also limited in number of passengers. The ban on dances and public funerals remains in effect.
December 9, 1918
The Fort Douglas isolation hospital reports 1 death and two new admissions with influenza. State Health Commissioner Beatty would like to enlist teachers to act as the police in matters of quarantine. He says the modified ban will continue as long as people adhere to the quarantine.
December 10, 1918
Nine hundred vaccinations are given, and the snow is blamed for the fall in numbers. Crowds of any kind remain under ban.
December 11, 1918
The City Board of Health purchases an ad in each newspaper for the purpose of educating the public about influenza. Businesses are now allowed to set their own opening schedules, but are urged to take precautions. Schoolteachers will patrol beginning today for “influenza delinquents.” The Board of Education passes two resolutions: to pay teachers for the month ending December 13, and to protest the continued closing of schools.
December 12, 1918
Theater managers unanimously vote to exclude children under 14 from theaters until public schools are reopened.
December 13, 1918
Manager Gideon Snyder opens the Sanitarium pools to visitors this morning.
December 14, 1918
Home and School League and Parent-Teacher organization members are called to a mass meeting today on influenza.
December 15, 1918
Tabernacle and chapels in the area do not hold services or Sunday school this afternoon. State Health Commissioner Beatty announces that local boards of health have been given authority to lift influenza bans where warranted.
December 18, 1918
16 new houses are put under quarantine.
December 24, 1918
It is decided that the removal of all restrictions of all public assemblages in Salt Lake is to take effect on December 24. After eleven weeks of closure, public schools are to open on December 26. State Health Commissioner Beatty warns that vigilance should not be relaxed.
The opening date for public schools is pushed back to December 30 to provide time for teachers and principals to finalize plans for making up lost time. An extra hour is to be added to each school day to make up lost time. Beginning today all public gatherings are allowed.
December 27, 1918
A meeting of teachers is held today to learn about the revised study plans. 41 houses are quarantined.
December 28, 1918
Children are required to bring a report on flu cases within the family. Any children with “suspicious symptoms” are to be sent home until school nurses and Health Department officials are convinced they no long present a danger to others. Fifty-four houses are quarantined today.
December 30, 1918
Schoolchildren are to be vaccinated by school nurses. Salt Lake City Evening School begins tonight.
December 31, 1918
Students are not allowed into school if there is any doubt as to their health or the health of those in their home. Teachers and nurses make daily health observations. The Board of Health has issued an instruction card for teachers’ desks to guide their observations.
January 2, 1919
University of Utah class enrollment is held to 25 students in order to protect against influenza, and indoor student assemblies are prohibited.
January 11, 1919
State Health Commissioner Beatty issues a bulletin to health officers announcing a flare-up of influenza throughout the state.
January 13, 1919
Sixty-two new houses are placarded. The Red Cross received 35 calls for nurses and household help.
January 16, 1919
Principals pass a resolution stating that they will remain open despite the influenza resurgence.
January 17, 1919
A general meeting discusses “whether or not open schools aided the spread of influenza.” State Health Commissioner Beatty and Dr. Ephraim G. Gowans, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, with the aid of specialists set a list of regulations to govern schools in combating influenza.
January 21, 1919
A new City Board of Health policy requires good ventilation in gathering places. An inspector is examining ventilation systems as well as doors and windows. Sixty-five houses are placarded. Students are to make daily reports of personal and family health.
January 23, 1919
University of Utah dean’s council decides to ban all activities and meetings of student organizations. For the first time in the New Year no deaths are reported.
January 25, 1919
Thirty houses are quarantined.
January 30, 1919
The University of Utah is to run an epidemiological survey of 10,000 people on Spanish influenza in Utah.
February 2, 1919
State Health Commissioner Beatty prepares a bill regulating sanitation conditions in theaters which is to be presented to the House of Representatives.
February 10, 1919
Eleven houses are quarantined.
February 16, 1919
6 houses are quarantined.
February 28, 1919
13 houses are quarantined.
March 1, 1919
The Board of Health issues a summary of influenza by month for October through February.
March 10, 1919
Five houses are quarantined.
March 12, 1919
According to City Board of Health officials the report on influenza is the most encouraging in months.
March 18, 1919
4 houses are quarantined.
April 1, 1919
3 houses are quarantined.
April 15, 1919
The City Commission votes to refund taxes for the two months in which theaters were forced to close during the influenza epidemic.
April 18, 1919
3 houses are quarantined.