Governor Spencer Cox and Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson addressed the Utah covid disaster on Friday and introduced a state plan to transition right into a “regular state mannequin”.
The transfer means Utah will quickly be part of the rising listing of states transitioning away from treating the coronavirus pandemic as a public well being disaster and as an alternative shift to a coverage centered on prevention, Cox mentioned throughout a press convention.
Vaccines are nonetheless extremely inspired, and the vaccine administration will proceed in accordance with Henderson nevertheless the concentrate on testing websites will reduce as Utah strikes towards a much less covid centered future.
“I feel it is necessary for all of us to reset our thoughts about how we will have a look at issues as we go ahead as a result of issues are altering,” mentioned Dr. Michelle Hoffman from the Utah Division of Well being. “Not solely are instances happening, however how we’re capturing instances has actually modified. And so, we have to have a look at it differently.”
The state will hold its contracts with vaccine and testing distributors in case there’s one other surge in instances. The Utah Division of Well being will reduce on covid reporting and return to weekly updates on numbers as an alternative of day by day.
“I feel it is necessary to notice that once more, we now have to have the ability to ramp down and that is what we’re doing. And I wish to simply reemphasize that is we’re trending in direction of March 31, the tip of March. So, it is a six-week ramp down,” Cox mentioned.
Utah’s deliberate shift parallels actions deliberate in different states together with California, the place Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom introduced Thursday that the state would undertake an “endemic” method to the coronavirus as a part of an try to return to normalcy.
However not like California, the place masks and capability caps have remained in impact in lots of areas, Utah’s transition could have much less tangible impacts on residents and primarily pertain to how the state communicates details about the pandemic and its position in facilitating testing and vaccinations.
“We began this section a very long time in the past, in transferring into a private threat mannequin and having individuals make these particular person selections — whether or not they wish to put on masks or whether or not they’re getting the vaccine — and hopefully they’re getting the vaccine. We’ve actually made that transition earlier than another states,” Cox mentioned.
With extensively obtainable instruments like at-home exams, antiviral tablets and wastewater surveillance to seek out proof of coronavirus, Cox and well being officers are assured that Utah can hold case counts and hospitalizations at manageable ranges and monitor for brand new variants and outbreaks.
Cox mentioned the recognition of at-home exams made positivity charges a much less helpful metric to gauge how prevalent the virus was in communities as a result of most at-home outcomes are usually not reported to state officers. In Utah, the positivity charge, as measured utilizing a. seven-day common, was 27% on Feb. 11, the final time the state up to date its information.
Utah has reported 21,764 newly confirmed COVID-19 an infection instances during the last two weeks, or 688 instances per 100,000 states residents, which ranks it twenty fifth out of the 50 states.
In emergency rooms, 5% of sufferers have been identified with the virus on Feb. 15, as measured utilizing a seven-day common. Deaths and hospitalizations have additionally fallen since a mid-January spike, in accordance with state well being division information.
Cox mentioned he hopes Utah will grow to be extra unified after this shift.
“I hope that greater than anything that we are able to transfer on from the deeply divided, politicization that we have been dealing with, that we are able to have a possibility to return collectively as fellow Utahns and that we are able to heal a few of these divides that we are able to present our love for, for our fellow residents, and that we are able to proceed to make your time unbelievable place for everybody who lives right here,” Cox mentioned.
The Related Press contributed to this story.
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