UTAH VACCINATIONS

Dr. Dunn: Utah May End Mask Mandates By Early July

Mar 3, 2021, 5:25 PM | Updated: 5:55 pm
FILE PHOTO (Mike Anderson/KSL TV)...
FILE PHOTO (Mike Anderson/KSL TV)
(Mike Anderson/KSL TV)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Optimism has grown that the COVID-19 vaccination campaign could get American life back to normal sooner than previously thought, and in Utah, leaders said dropping mask mandates could happen by early July.

On Tuesday, President Joe Biden said all adults should be able to get their first shot by the end of May while some states started lifting COVID-19 restrictions.

Gov. Spencer Cox said he expected enough vaccine for every Utah adult by early May. State epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn expressed optimism too, but she wants to make sure we cross the finish line before easing up on restrictions too early.

“We can only give out as many vaccines as we’re given, and we are doing fantastic in terms of the speed at which we’re getting our vaccines out,” Dunn said.

When can Utah consider lifting the mask mandate and other COVID-19 restrictions?

Texas and Mississippi already made that move while the Centers for Disease Control warned against it, citing that it is premature from a public health standpoint as the country awaits the impact from coronavirus variants.

“We are definitely getting pressure to do that (lift the restrictions), and from a health and economic perspective, the mask wearing and the mask mandate is the simplest thing we can do to protect the health of Utah and also the economy,” Dunn said.

Right now, according to metrics cited by Cox Tuesday, Utah still needs to see lower rates of transmission, virus spread and percent positivity, and fewer hospitalizations.

Utah will also wait eight weeks after 70% of the population has received its first dose to allow for the second dose and to give immunity a chance to kick in. That’s why the governor was optimistic about a Fourth of July without masks.

“My preference is that the masks are the very last thing to go after we have herd immunity, after a vaccine is available to all Utahns and after we see a drop in cases even lower than what we have now,” Dunn said.

Dunn said she does not want to put a date on when Utah will meet the criteria for dropping the mask mandate and other restrictions because there are too many factors involved. Dunn said Independence Day is a possibility if Utahns mask up, social distance and keep getting vaccinated.

“We’re still on that teetering edge where, at any moment, the embers out there can flame back up,” she said. “So, we need to keep using every tool at our disposal to drive those case counts until we just have sporadic COVID cases.”

Only then, she said, should Utahns feel comfortable about walking around in crowded settings without a mask.

“To me, it’s disappointing that something so simple, so cost-effective — really the one intervention that has a clear bang for our buck — is at the center of this controversy once again when we’re so close to the finish line,” Dunn said.

She added her opinion is not the only one, and the public health order could change again before the state meets the current criteria for reopening.

“But if we give up now, our cases are just going to go right back up,” she said.

Dunn said epidemiologists will be watching the states that have lifted restrictions and hoping that it works. She fears, however, that those states run the risk of a surge in case counts and even exporting that surge to other states.


Coronavirus Resources

Have you or a family member been affected by coronavirus issues in Utah? KSL wants to hear from you. Contact KSL by emailing social@ksl.com.

Click here to sign up for a vaccine.

The latest COVID-19 stories from KSL can be found here.

How do I prevent it?

The CDC has some simple recommendations, most of which are the same for preventing other respiratory illnesses or the flu:

  • Avoid close contact with people who may be sick
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
  • If soap and water is not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Utah Vaccinations

Only 50% of Utans are vaccinated and cases are surging because of the Omicron variant BA.5. FILE PH...
Jed Boal

BA.5 variant driving new surge of Utah COVID-19 cases

President Joe Biden’s positive Covid case Thursday was a sober reminder that Utah is not done fending off COVID-19 in many communities.
26 days ago
FILE (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)...
MIKE STOBBE, ASSOCIATED RPESS

US opens COVID vaccine to little kids; shots begin this week

The U.S. on Saturday opened COVID-19 vaccines to infants, toddlers and preschoolers. The shots will become available this week, expanding the nation’s vaccination campaign to children as young as 6 months.
2 months ago
FILE PHOTO (Photo by Alexandre Schneider/Getty Images)...
MIKE STOBBE, ASSOCIATED PRESS

CDC recommends COVID-19 vaccines for children under 5

U.S. health officials on Saturday recommended COVID-19 vaccines for infants, toddlers and preschoolers — the last group without the shots.
2 months ago
Utah COVID testing site. Getty images...
Cary J. Schwanitz, KSL TV

New mobile COVID-19 testing sites open in Utah

With the summer travel season underway and a steady stream of people still testing positive for COVID-19, Nomi Health opened several mobile testing sites across Utah.
2 months ago
AURORA, CO - DECEMBER 15: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center investigat...
Jed Boal, KSL TV

Pfizer booster shot is now approved for children 5-11, here’s what a doctor advises

The CDC now recommends Pfizer COVID-19 booster shots for children ages five to 11. But, a leading pediatric epidemiologist suggests some parents may want to wait based on their summer plans.
3 months ago
FILE (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)...
Jed Boal, KSL TV

Utah moves into ‘steady state’ of pandemic, many testing options are going away

Several major changes are coming for COVID-19 testing in Utah starting Friday, April 1. 
5 months ago

Sponsored Articles

tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
cyber security through multi factor authentication setup...
Les Olson IT

How multi factor authentication setup helps companies stay safe

Multi factor authentication (MFA) setup is an important security measure that every company should implement for their workers. It’s also wise to install it for your personal and home accounts.
...
Lighting Design

Check out these stunning lamps with stained glass shades

Lamps with stained glass shades are statement pieces that are more than simply aesthetic. They also meet a functional requirement: to light up a room.
Address Bar of internet browser shows internet access...
AARP Utah

Utah voters 50+ support increased access to Internet

The AARP surveyed Utah voters aged 50 plus about internet access and if they support the expansion of broadband, especially in rural areas currently lacking it.
Dr. Dunn: Utah May End Mask Mandates By Early July