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December 8, 2021
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480 more COVID-19 cases, 2 deaths, over 18K vaccinations reported Wednesday in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s number of COVID-19 cases increased by 480 on Wednesday, with two more deaths and 18,687 vaccinations reported, according to the Utah Department of Health.

The state estimates there are now 8,106 active COVID-19 cases in Utah. The rolling seven-day average number of positive cases per day is now at 352, according to the health department. The positive test rate per day for that time period calculated with the “people over people” method is now 6.6%. The positive test rate per day for that time period calculated with the “test over test” method is now 3.5%.

There are 153 COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized in Utah, including 62 in intensive care, state data shows. About 72% of all intensive care unit beds in Utah are now occupied, including about 74% of ICU beds in the state’s 16 referral hospitals. About 55% of Utah’s non-ICU hospital beds are occupied as of Wednesday, state data shows.

A total of 2,223,511 vaccine doses have been administered in the state, up from 2,204,824 Tuesday. A total of 1,327,302 Utahns have now received at least a first vaccine dose, and 986,146 are now considered fully vaccinated. A total of 2,616,778 vaccine doses have been delivered to Utah so far.

About 41.4% of all Utahns have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and 30.8% of the state’s residents are now fully vaccinated, according to the health department. Among Utahns age 16 or older, who are currently eligible for the vaccine, 55.8% have at least a first dose and 41.5% are fully vaccinated.

The new numbers indicate a 0.1% increase in positive cases since Tuesday. Of the 2,582,182 people tested for COVID-19 in Utah so far, 15.5% have tested positive for the disease. The number of tests conducted since the pandemic began in Utah is now at 4,693,838, up 15,569 since Tuesday. Of those, 7,190 were tests of people who had not previously been tested for COVID-19.

The two deaths reported Wednesday were a Weber County man who was between the ages of 45 and 64 and was hospitalized when he died, and a Millard County woman who was between the ages of 45 and 64 and was hospitalized when she died.

Wednesday’s totals give Utah 398,979 total confirmed cases, with 16,278 total hospitalizations and 2,219 total deaths from the disease. An estimated 388,654 Utah COVID-19 cases are now considered recovered.

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox is scheduled to provide a COVID-19 pandemic update during his weekly news conference at 11 a.m. Thursday.

Bills signal change in Utah’s pandemic policy

Tuesday marked the end of most state and local health orders in Utah, as required by HB294, also known as the state’s pandemic “endgame” bill. Since the state’s two-week case rate is under 191 per 100,000 people, under 15% of intensive care unit beds are occupied by COVID-19 patients over the past week, and more than 1,633,000 prime COVID-19 vaccine doses have been allocated to Utah, the state and local health orders ended Tuesday, with a few exceptions.

Mask requirements for Utah’s K-12 schools will stay in effect until June 15 or the last day of school, whichever comes first. HB294 allows the state health department to continue enforcing orders pertaining to K-12 schools.

Additionally, masks are required at all state-owned facilities until May 31 due to an executive order from Gov. Spencer Cox. After May 31, individual agencies can decide if they want to continue requiring masks. Masks will also be required on all Utah Transit Authority buses and trains through September.

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall and Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson also have enacted mask mandates for all city- and count-owned facilities. Private businesses also still reserve the right to require masks in their establishments.

Several federal mandates will also remain in place. The Transportation Security Administration will require masks for people traveling on transportation networks across the U.S., including in all airports and on planes, as well as commuter bus and rail networks. Masks are also required at all federal buildings and facilities, including National Park Service areas, as part of federal mask requirements.

One other bill enacted by the Utah Legislature earlier this year relates to the COVID-19 pandemic.

SB195 takes effect Wednesday and requires the Utah governor’s office and health department to provide at least 24 hours notice to the state Legislature before enacting a public health emergency. Similarly, local health departments must provide 24 hours notice to their county elected officials before enacting a public health emergency.

Under SB195, the state Legislature or a county’s elected body can overturn a public health emergency order within their jurisdictions at any time. The bill also institutes a maximum 30-day duration for state or local public health emergency, but the Legislature or a county’s elected officials can allow an extension.

SB195 also stipulates that HB294 will end on July 1.

More information about the bills related to COVID-19 is available via the state’s coronavirus website at coronavirus.utah.gov/legislative-response.

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