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COVID-19 threshold criteria met in Utah, ending most public health orders

FILE: A woman packs protective face masks at Cifra production plant on March 25, 2020 in Verano Brianza, near Milan, Italy. Working women were disproportionately affected by financial concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Emanuele Cremaschi/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Department of Health has notified the Utah State Legislature that, as of today, the state has met the threshold to end COVID-19 public health orders.

The requirements were proposed by Utah lawmakers during the 2021 Legislative session and their bill, Pandemic Emergency Powers Amendments, was later signed by Gov. Spencer Cox.

Public health orders end under criteria

The legislation established criteria for eliminating COVID-19 public health orders based on case rates, ICU utilization, and prime doses of vaccine allocated to the state.

According to a statement issued by the Utah Department of Health, the thresholds were:

    • A 14-day case rate less than 191 per 100,000 people (currently 163.4)
    • A 7-day average COVID-19 ICU utilization less than 15% (currently 11.2%)
    • More than 1,633,000 prime doses of COVID-19 vaccine allocated to the state (1,656,025)

“We met that final metric today,” Jenny Johnson with the Utah Department of Health told KSL Newsradio.

“Now, under that law [HB 294] that was passed, all the state and public health orders end.”

School mask requirement unchanged by COVID-19 threshold

While HB294 ends most public health orders, it specifically allows UDOH to continue public health orders that pertain to public health and safety measures in K-12 schools.

“And so a new public health order was issued today so that it matched the legislation requirements and to make sure that parents and schools and teachers known that masks are still required in schools until the end of the school year,” Johnson said.

Or, the legislation stipulates, until June 1, 2021, whichever is first.

In a letter sent to Utah legislative leadership, health officials said this is a reason to celebrate.“I understand HB294 has been controversial. Important, legitimate arguments having been made on all sides of the issues,” said UDOH Executive Director Rich Saunders. “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.”

Businesses may still require masks and other health and safety measures.


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.
  • Seek out the COVID-19 vaccine.

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

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