SALT LAKE CITY — Nearly a year after COVID-19 first arrived in Utah, six counties in the state, including the state’s most populated, Salt Lake County, will move to the “moderate” transmission phase for the virus, KSL NewsRadio learned Thursday.
Counties in the “moderate” transmission phase do not have gathering restrictions, so long as people wear masks.
During a weekly news conference, state government and health officials announced lowered age requirements and expanded health conditions that qualify for vaccinations.
Gov. Spencer Cox announced Salt Lake, Cache, Davis, Grand, Sanpete and Wasatch counties would all move from “high” to “moderate” transmission levels on the state’s virus-response plan. However, he also took time to note all the Utahns lost to date from COVID-19.
“Even though we’ve been watching phenomenal progress in our metrics, I wanna take a minute to just remember that we have lost almost 2,000 Utahns to this insidious disease,” Cox said. “Those 2,000 people are really people, and to those families this is real and it’s tragic.”
Transmission levels change in Salt Lake, Davis and other counties
The Utah Department of Health uses a graduated transmission index to determine when locations like Salt Lake County and the other five counties mentioned by the governor can ease restrictions related to COVID-19.
Under the system, a county has a high level of transmission when its 7-day average percent positivity is greater than or equal to 10%, its 14-day case rate rises above 325 people per 100,000 population, its total amount of ICU utilization reaches 72% or greater and the number of ICU beds used for COVID-19 specifically reach higher than 15%.
“There are no restrictions on gatherings in moderate [counties],” Cox said. “This is incredible news as long as people are wearing masks.”
That means you could sit shoulder-to-shoulder with someone at a basketball game or movie theater, as long as your masks are in place.
At moderate levels of virus transmission, the state’s guidelines allow residents to gather in person with no limits on the size of events, so long as people wear masks.
In addition to Salt Lake, Cache, Davis, Grand, Sanpete and Wasatch counties, Box Elder, Duchesne, Juab, Morgan, San Juan, Washington and Weber counties now fall in the moderate-transmission category.
UPDATES TO UTAH TRANSMISSION INDEX:
— KSL NewsRadio (@kslnewsradio) March 4, 2021
“2.2 million Utahns now live in moderate transmission areas,” Cox said.
Only five Utah counties, Daggett, Millard, Piute, Rich and Wayne, are considered to be areas of low transmission for COVID-19. The remaining counties in the state continue to be considered “high” transmission areas.
Cases continue to drop
Thursday, the Utah Department of Health reported 611 new cases of COVID-19 in the state out of 7,286 people tested. The statewide 7-day rolling average of percent positivity of “people over people” is 10.0%, and the 7-day rolling average of percent positivity of “tests over tests” is 4.8%.
State health officials reported 203 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19. 12 more people have died of COVID-19, for a total of 1,965; however, two previously recorded deaths were removed from the totals and attributed to other causes, and seven of the 12 reported today occurred prior to Feb. 11, 2021.
This story will be updated.
Contributing: Kira Hoffelmeyer
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.
Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707
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