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Teachers to begin receiving the vaccine as Utah passes 300K COVID-19 cases

Gov. Spencer Cox addresses reporters in his first COVID-19 briefing as governor, Jan. 8, 2021. Photo: KSL NewsRadio

SALT LAKE CITY — During his first COVID-19 briefing as governor, Spencer Cox announced he is signing an Executive Order to bolster Utah’s vaccination rollout plan, including a plan for teachers to start getting the vaccine by next week. 

Cox said local health departments will now be in charge of distributing the vaccine.

“They have the ability to vaccinate a minimum of 50,000 people per week,” which is more than the state health department, said Cox.

The order goes into effect on Jan. 23; local departments will be required to report how many vaccinations they administered by 9 a.m. every morning. He also stated vaccines must be administered the same week shipments arrive.

However, Cox noted those who already had the coronavirus should refrain from signing up to receive a vaccine. 

“We should not waste the vaccine on residents who have already had the virus,” said Cox. “They should not sign up to get the vaccine if they have had the virus in the last 90 days.” 

Teachers and those over 70 to receive the vaccine

Beginning on Jan. 11, teachers can begin signing up to receive the vaccine. 

Cox is asking health departments and school districts to “prioritize [those who get vaccinated] by age and comorbidities.”

“Those over the age of 65 [or with] underlying health conditions should get vaccinated first,” said Cox.

He encouraged educators and staff who are younger than 65 and healthy not to seek the vaccine just yet. 

Cox also announced Utahns ages 70 and older can begin signing up for the vaccine on Jan. 18. The governor recognized that is a large population and warns it’ll take “several weeks” for these residents to get vaccinated. 

“We are anticipating every health department to run out of vaccines every week,” said Cox. 

Friday’s coronavirus numbers

Coronavirus cases in Utah have begun to spike following the holiday season. On Friday, the Utah Department of Health reported 3,793 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, with a 7-day rolling average of positive tests at 32.7%. The state also passed 300,000 total confirmed cases since the pandemic started. 

As of Friday, more than 89,000 residents have been vaccinated. And Utah health care workers have begun receiving their second dose of the vaccine. 

Health care workers are warning January will be hard for coronavirus patients and those working on the frontlines. 

How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus spreads person to person, similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Wear a mask to protect yourself and others per CDC recommendations.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet).
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities).
  • Obtain a flu shot.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A 

Utah’s Coronavirus Information 

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States