Utah has reached the COVID-19 pandemic “endgame.”
The state crossed the threshold in the three metrics outlined in HB294, also known as the pandemic “endgame” bill, Tuesday afternoon, according to Utah Department of Health officials.
That means that most state and local health orders are ending. The law passed by the Legislature in March set the end of those health orders on the day that Utah’s 14-day case rate is less than 191 per 100,000 people, the seven-day average of COVID-19 intensive care unit usage is under 15%, and 1,633,000 prime doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been allocated to the state.
The health department said the state reached the benchmark in all three of those metrics. Utah’s 14-day case rate is 163.4 per 100,000 people, the ICU usage average over the past week is 11.2%, and 1,656,025 prime vaccine doses have been allocated to the state.
“I understand HB294 has been controversial. Important, legitimate arguments having been made on all sides of the issues,” health department Executive Director Rich Saunders said in a letter addressed to the Legislature on Tuesday. “But today should give all of us reason to celebrate. No matter which side someone falls on, we can all be proud of the outcomes we have achieved so far.”
Though most health orders will end, the bill allows orders pertaining to K-12 schools to continue. The mask mandate for schools will continue through June 1 or the last day of classes, whichever comes first, according to the health department.
“It’s important not to give up the ground we have gained, especially in our schools,” Saunders said. “We’re asking teachers, administrators, parents and students to please hang in there, and finish the year on a healthy note.”
Individual counties can still enact restrictions.
Other exceptions include:
- Any private businesses can still require masks and require social distancing.
- All state-owned facilities have a mask mandate per Gov. Spencer Cox’s orders until May 31. After that date, the agency can determine whether masks still will be required.
- Utah Transit Authority will require masks and social distancing on all its buses and trains until September.
- Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson has imposed a mask mandate for all county-owned facilities.
Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall posted on Twitter that she plans to take executive action since the city remains in moderate transmission level according to the state’s guidelines.
“In our city, we still see more cases and fewer vaccinations in our West Side neighborhoods, which have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 for the entirety of the pandemic,” she tweeted Tuesday afternoon.
“I plan to issue an executive order requiring masks at all City facilities shortly and as a City we will continue encouraging people to wear life-saving masks while COVID remains a very real and present risk to public health.”
New COVID-19 cases and 13 deaths reported
Utah’s number of COVID-19 cases increased Tuesday by 259, with 13 more deaths and 19,965 vaccinations reported, according to the Utah Department of Health.
Ten of the death occurred before April 1, according to the department.
The rolling seven-day average of positive cases per day is now at 358 and the positive rate when all tests are counted is 3.4%.
There are now an estimated 8,158 active COVID-19 cases in Utah, the health department reported, with 143 currently hospitalized, including 54 in intensive care, state data shows. About 68% of intensive care unit beds in Utah are occupied as of Tuesday.
A total of 2,204,824 vaccine doses have been administered in the state, up from 2,184,859 Monday. A total of 1,320,344 Utahns have now received at least a first vaccine dose, and 973,629 are fully vaccinated.
About 41.2% of all Utahns have now received at least one vaccine dose, and 30.4% are fully vaccinated.
Of the 2,574,992 people tested for COVID-19 in Utah so far, 15.5% have tested positive for COVID-19. The number of total tests conducted in Utah since the pandemic began is now at 4,678,269, up 10,114 since Monday. Of those, 4,059 were tests of people who had not previously been tested for COVID-19, according to the health department.
The 13 deaths reported Tuesday were:
- A Box Elder County woman who was between the ages of 45 and 64 and was hospitalized when she died.
- A Cache County man who was between the ages of 45 and 64 and was not hospitalized when he died.
- A Cache County woman who was between the ages of 65 and 84 and was hospitalized when she died.
- A Carbon County man who was between the ages of 25 and 44 and was not hospitalized when he died.
- A Salt Lake County man who was over the age of 85 and was not hospitalized when he died.
- A Salt Lake County man who was between the ages of 25 and 44 and was hospitalized when he died.
- A Salt Lake County man who was between the ages of 45 and 64 and was not hospitalized when he died.
- Two Salt Lake County men who were between the ages of 65 and 84 and weren’t hospitalized when they died.
- A Salt Lake County woman who was between the ages of 25 and 44 and was not hospitalized when she died.
- A Uintah County woman who was between the ages of 25 and 44 and was hospitalized when she died.
- A Washington County man who was between the ages of 65 and 84 and was not hospitalized when he died.
- A Weber County man who was over the age of 85 and was hospitalized when he died.
Tuesday’s totals give Utah 398,499 confirmed cases, with 16,258 hospitalizations and 2,217 total deaths from the disease. An estimated 388,124 Utah COVID-19 cases are now considered recovered.