(Salt Lake City) – The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) today notified the Utah State Legislature that all COVID-19 thresholds established in House Bill 294, Pandemic Emergency Power Amendments, have been met. The legislation, passed during the 2021 General Session, established criteria for eliminating COVID-19 public health orders based on case rates, ICU utilization, and prime doses of vaccine allocated to the state.
The thresholds required for terminating public health orders are:
- 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)
In a letter notifying legislative leadership the criteria have been met, UDOH Executive Director Rich Saunders said, “I understand HB294 has been controversial. Important, legitimate arguments having been made on all sides of the issues. 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.”
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.
In accordance with that section of the statute, the UDOH today issued State Public Health Order 2021-11. This order requires continued, routine testing of participants in high school sports and other extracurricular activities and also requires face coverings be worn in K-12 schools. This order expires on the last day of the 2020-21 school year or June 1, whichever occurs first.
“It’s important not to give up the ground we have gained, especially in our schools,” said Saunders. “We’re asking teachers, administrators, parents, and students to please hang in there, and finish the year on a healthy note.”
The COVID-19 Transmission Index, which identifies counties of high, moderate, and low disease transmission based on several established metrics will also continue. However, the index will only serve as an advisory tool of the steps individuals and businesses can continue to take to help limit the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.
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