Utah to downgrade from COVID-19 ’emergency response’

Feb 18, 2022, 4:00 PM | Updated: Jun 13, 2022, 4:41 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – Gov. Spencer Cox said it is time to transition from an emergency response to COVID-19 to what he’s calling a “steady state” response.  

He said Utah is now in a much better place now with vaccines, COVID-19 treatments, and home testing. Health officials will be able to ramp up the response again if needed. 

“It’s time for our state’s response to the pandemic to make the appropriate shift to better match where we are today,” the governor said. This transition will happen over the next six weeks. 

“It is now time to transition out of an emergency posture and into a manageable risk model,” the governor said in a media briefing today along with health officials. 

Cox pointed out that the metrics of the virus, like case counts, are moving in the right direction. Hospitalizations remain high, but they are trending down. 

“Let me be clear, that this is not the end of COVID,” Cox said. “But it is the end or rather the beginning of treating COVID as we do other seasonal respiratory viruses.” 

Until more people are vaccinated and boosted, the state will continue to be ready to respond. 

“Vaccines have been, and will continue to be the surest way to keep us out of this pandemic, to move it into a more steady-state,” said Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson. 

State-run testing sites will be phased out as the UDOH moves away from mass sites. Most testing will be done by health care providers, private testing providers, or home testing. 

Cox said Utahns need to manage risk on a personal level, not with mandates. 

“We have to be OK with the decisions we make. Every single one of us,” he said. “You’ll notice today that there are several people in this room that are wearing masks. That’s OK. There are also people in this room who have chosen not to wear masks. That is also OK and we all need to be OK with those personal decisions that people are making.” 

The department of health will keep an eye on what’s coming next. 

“We all know there’s a possibility that there are new variants coming, and we need to be ready for that. So, we have good systems in place to look,” Dr. Leisha Nolen, state epidemiologist said.

The governor hopes the steady-state model will allow everyone to get past the divisiveness that has affected our state. 


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

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.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories


Intermountain Medical Center (KSL TV)...
Emily Ashcraft

Pandemic led to increase in rate and severity of depression, Intermountain study says

The COVID-19 pandemic had a large impact on mental health, specifically depression, an Intermountain Health study using research from thousands Utah patients found.
19 days ago
Emily Ashcraft

Masks no longer required at Intermountain Health facilities, 3 years after pandemic started

Intermountain Health announced wearing masks will become optional for visitors and patients beginning March 15, following an anticipated decline in respiratory illnesses.
22 days ago
woman blowing her nose on a couch...
Paul LeBlanc

New assessment on the origins of COVID-19 adds to the confusion

Three years after the start of the pandemic, researchers are beginning to look more into how COVID-19 began and its origins.
27 days ago
Flu COVID test...
Jen Christensen, CNN

FDA authorizes first at-home test for flu, Covid-19

If you've got a fever and a cough, you don't necessarily have to go to the doctor anymore to find out if it's the flu or COVID-19.
29 days ago
Ashley Moser

COVID long-haulers push lawmakers to approve funding for treatment research

The request for $4,000,000 would help U of U Health’s Comprehensive COVID-19 Clinic, which has seen 1,800 long COVID-19 patients since July of 2021.
1 month ago
Katija Stjepovic

Utah arts and cultural jobs are surging after COVID pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic pulled the curtains on most of Utah's arts and cultural jobs, but after nearly three years, they are reemerging. 
2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Close up of an offset printing machine during production...
Les Olson IT

Top 7 Reasons to Add a Production Printer to Your Business

Learn about the different digital production printers and how they can help your company save time and money.
vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Utah to downgrade from COVID-19 ’emergency response’