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Salt Lake County ends its COVID-19 emergency status

Jan 10, 2023, 4:24 PM

Dr. Angela Dunn, executive director of Salt Lake County Health Department, left, discusses schoolch...

Dr. Angela Dunn, executive director of Salt Lake County Health Department, left, discusses schoolchildren and masks as Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson listens at the Salt Lake County Government Center in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021. Children in the county under the age of 12 will be required to wear masks at school under an “order of restraint” to be issued by Dunn. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

(Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE COUNTY, UTAH — After nearly three years, the Salt Lake County Health Department ended its COVID emergency status Tuesday.

Dr. Angela Dunn, Executive Director of the Salt Lake County Health Department, wrote a letter to Salt Lake County Council on Dec. 23 stating that she and Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson believe the status is no longer needed.

“Given the incorporation of COVID-19 response activities into the Health Department’s regular infrastructure, Mayor Wilson and I believe it is no longer fiscally [warranted] for the County to extend the COVID-19 pandemic public health emergency,” reads the letter, according to the Salt Lake County news release.

However, Dunn is not suggesting that Salt Lake County residents should not take COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses less seriously because of the status change. The change is because of health department’s infrastructure is equipped to handle the current caseload.

“Fortunately, we have the tools to protect ourselves and our loved ones,” Dunn wrote. “We can mask during times of high transmission, we can stay home and social distance when we are feeling unwell, and for COVID and influenza, we have very effective vaccines.”

“COVID-19 presented both a health and economic emergency,” Wilson added in the news release. “The COVID-19 Pandemic up-ended almost all County operations, yet we emerge stronger.”

According to the news release, as of Dec. 31, 402,624 cases of COVID-19 were reported, and 3,237 people were hospitalized, with 2,941 needing ICU admissions in Salt Lake County. A reported 1,791 people died from COVID-19.

Wilson placed the county on the emergency status on March 6, 2020. It was extended in Dec. 2021 due to the Omicron variant hitting Utah.

According to the news release, the county will still provide COVID-19 vaccines, boosters, and testing at their facilities.

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Salt Lake County ends its COVID-19 emergency status