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State Health Officials ‘Optimistic’ In Battle Against COVID-19

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – State leaders expressed their optimism about Utah’s battle against COVID-19 during the latest weekly update. The state hit the metrics for the pandemic “Endgame Bill” sooner than expected.

State leaders said Utah is headed in the right direction, as long as people keep getting vaccinated.

“Our cases are decreasing in Utah, but also nationally, which is a good sign,” said Dr. Angela Dunn in her last briefing as state epidemiologist.

Dunn announced she was stepping down to become the executive director of the Salt Lake County Health Department.

New cases are down to a level we haven’t seen since mid-June last year. ICU hospitalizations and deaths are also down, while vaccination numbers continue to grow along with the availability of vaccines.

“The more we continue to vaccinate individuals, the faster this drop will happen,” said Dr. Dunn.

When the Pfizer vaccine is made available for 12 to 15-year-olds, as early as next week, 215,000 more people become eligible in Utah.

“Having 12 to 15-year-olds get vaccinated will really cause our cases to just plummet,” she said.

And it will protect many children in their activities.

“As soon as the FDA and CDC approve the Pfizer vaccine for 12 to 15-year-olds, make an appointment for your child,” Dr. Dunn recommended. “If you have questions, contact your healthcare provider to talk about those.”

The state is also taking the vaccine directly to those who need it.

“We want to make it easier. So we’re going to bring the vaccine to you,” said Lieutenant Governor Deidre Henderson.

They started to dispatch mobile vaccination units to community groups, churches, businesses or any organization ready to host a vaccine clinic at no cost. Two hundred requests were already received  for vaccination events that total more than 27,000 doses of vaccine.

Go to coronavirus.utah.gov to request a vaccine event.

The governor is still urging caution and personal responsibility because the virus is not gone, yet.

“You don’t declare victory until we get to the end of this thing,” said Governor Spencer Cox. “But, I think we all feel pretty good about things.”

You can now find the closest place to get vaccinated by sending a text message in English or Spanish. Text your ZIP Code to GetVax, which is 438-829. You will receive a reply with three vaccination locations near you.


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 and here to see how Utah’s vaccine rollout is progressing.

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 are 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.

 

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