SALT LAKE CITY – Utah on Tuesday ended public health orders regarding the COVID-19 pandemic – such as mandatory limits on meetings and social distancing – after the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) notified that it was they met the metrics set out in a bill passed earlier this year.
The legislation, named “Bill 294: Amendments to emergency power due to the pandemic,” was approved in March and established that health orders would be eliminated when the following three aspects were reached:
- a 14-day case rate of less than 191 per 100,000 people,
- an average ICU utilization for 7 days less than 15%
- more than 1.6 million first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Utah approved its third and final benchmark Tuesday after the number of vaccine doses allocated to the state reached 1.63 million, health officials said.
In a letter to legislative leadership, Health Department Executive Director Rich Saunders acknowledged that the legislation has been controversial, but urged state leaders to remain hopeful.
“Today should be a cause for celebration for all of us,” Saunders said. “No matter which side you are on, we can all be proud of the results we have achieved so far.”
Some five million people in the US have received the first dose of Pfizer or Moderna, but not the second.
The state previously lifted its statewide mask mandate on April 10. However, some counties still maintain local orders.
MASKS ARE KEPT IN SCHOOLS AND PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION
The UDOH issued State Public Health Order 2021-11 which requires the continuation of routine testing of participants in high school sports and other extracurricular activities and also requires the use of face masks in K-12 schools.
This order expires on the last day of the 2020-21 school year or June 1, whichever occurs first.
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The Utah Transit Authority has also said it will require face masks and social distancing on all buses and trains through the end of September.
Also, the COVID-19 Transmission Index will be maintained, which identifies the counties with high, moderate and low transmission of the coronavirus, although it will only serve as an advisory tool on the steps that individuals and companies can continue to take.