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 a part of the rising listing of states transitioning away from treating the coronavirus pandemic as a public well being disaster and as a substitute 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 keeping with Henderson nonetheless the deal with testing websites will reduce as Utah strikes towards a much less covid centered future.
“I feel it is vital for all of us to reset our thoughts about how we’ll take 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 take a look at it otherwise.”
The state will hold its contracts with vaccine and testing distributors in case there may be one other surge in instances. The Utah Division of Well being will reduce on covid reporting and return to weekly updates on numbers as a substitute of every day.
“I feel it is vital to notice that once more, we’ve to have the ability to ramp down and that is what we’re doing. And I need to simply reemphasize that is we’re trending in direction of March 31, the top of March. So, this can be 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” strategy 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 can have much less tangible impacts on residents and primarily pertain to how the state communicates details about the pandemic and its function in facilitating testing and vaccinations.
“We began this section a very long time in the past, in shifting into a private danger mannequin and having folks make these particular person selections — whether or not they need to put on masks or whether or not they’re getting the vaccine — and hopefully they’re getting the vaccine. We’ve definitely made that transition earlier than another states,” Cox mentioned.
With extensively obtainable instruments like at-home assessments, antiviral capsules 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 assessments 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 usually are not reported to state officers. In Utah, the positivity price, as measured utilizing a. seven-day common, was 27% on Feb. 11, the final time the state up to date its knowledge.
Utah has reported 21,764 newly confirmed COVID-19 an infection instances over the past 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 recognized 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 keeping with state well being division knowledge.
Cox mentioned he hopes Utah will turn out to be extra unified after this shift.
“I hope that greater than the rest that we will transfer on from the deeply divided, politicization that we have been dealing with, that we will have a possibility to return collectively as fellow Utahns and that we will heal a few of these divides that we will present our love for, for our fellow residents, and that we will proceed to make your time unimaginable place for everybody who lives right here,” Cox mentioned.
The Related Press contributed to this story.
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