SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah is on pace to remove all coronavirus-related restrictions by July if transmission rates keep dropping, but the situation could change, Gov. Spencer Cox said Thursday.
He urged residents to get vaccinated as soon as possible and to remain cautious.
Cox made the announcement before he and his wife received their first dose at a vaccination center in Utah County. It came days after the state opened vaccine eligibility to everyone 16 and older.
More than 450,000 of the state’s 3.2 million residents have been fully vaccinated, and over 814,00 have received at least one dose, according to state data.
”Even if we do see an increase in cases, the fact that we have vaccinated so many of our most at-risk population makes us even less vulnerable to the outcomes," Cox said at his weekly COVID-19 briefing.
About 80% of people 65 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Over half of that group have been fully vaccinated, said Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson.
New coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in Utah are expected to continue decreasing as the vaccine rollout continues, said State Epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn.
More than 383,000 virus cases have been reported in Utah, along with 2,088 known deaths, according to state data.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.
Eppolito is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.