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All Utah counties out of ‘high transmission’ level for COVID-19, two more counties move to moderate

SALT LAKE CITY– Not a single county in Utah falls under the “high transmission” index for COVID-19, as two more counties are move to a lower transmission level, Governor Spencer Cox announced Thursday during a news conference. 

 

Beaver and Emery counties have moved from a high transmission rate to a moderate transmission rate. That update means for the first time since the index was implemented that no county in Utah is in the high transmission category.

In addition to that update, Cox announced Utah is scheduled to receive 106,440 prime vaccine doses next week, which will also be the highest number of vaccines the state has received.

This increase is good news, but Cox warned residents must adhere to other precautions known to help slow the spread of COVID-19 until everyone can have the opportunity to receive a vaccine.

“We’ve known from the beginning that vaccines are the quickest way out of the pandemic,” Cox said. “But because we still don’t have enough for everyone–we need to continue wearing masks in public.”

Cox said under the state’s new pandemic “Endgame” bill he signed into law, masks will continue to be a requirement in K-12 schools through the end of the school year. 

“We know how important in-person learning is,” Cox said. “We were one of the first states to open in-person learning. No vaccine is currently approved for anyone younger than 16. But we’re really encouraged by Pfizer’s announcement that its vaccine is 100% effective.”

“Breakthrough cases”

On Thursday, the state reported 487 new cases of COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, and the rolling 7-day average for percent positivity of “people over people” is 6.8%.

State Epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn said this is in part due to the hard work being done to get Utahns vaccinated. 

She noted that in the last three and a half months Utah has been vaccinating individuals, over half a million residents are now fully vaccinated. Of the state’s 70 and older population, 84% of them have received at least one dose of the vaccine. For those over 65, 82% of them have also received at least one dose

“In the course of vaccinating so many people we’ve been able to learn more about these vaccines,” Dunn said.

One of the biggest things she said they have learned is that the vaccines are safe.

“There have been very few reports of side effects, even fewer reports of significant side effects, and no deaths caused by the vaccines. We know they are effective,” she continued. 

She added that in the clinical trials, the vaccines prevented 95% of people from getting the virus, noting that no vaccine is 100% effective.

For those who do contract the virus after vaccination, Dunn said it happens, but that it is a rare occurrence. 

“When someone who is fully vaccinated, defined as two weeks after receiving your final dose, tests positive for COVID-19 we call that a ‘breakthrough case,'” she said.

“Out of the 521,686 people who are fully vaccinated, we have detected just 96 breakthrough cases. This means only 0.02% of fully vaccinated people in Utah have become infected with COVID-19.”