Gov. Spencer Cox speaks during a news conference about COVID-19 Friday Jan. 14, 2022. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Utahns who have COVID-19 symptoms should forget about getting tested and just stay home, Gov. Spencer Cox and other state leaders urged Friday in what was described as a pivot in the state’s pandemic strategy to deal with a crushing surge in cases as the incredibly fast-spreading omicron variant rips through the state.
“We need now more than ever to come together,” Cox said during a news conference at the Utah Capitol in Salt Lake City, promising that an end to the pandemic and a return to normal for Utahns may just be weeks away based on cases starting to decline elsewhere.
One of the participants scheduled to attend the news conference, Utah State Senate President Stuart Adams, R-Layton, wasn’t there. His spokeswoman said Adams “started having flu-like symptoms and tested positive for COVID. He is already feeling better and will be ready to start the session on Tuesday.”
When the 2022 Legislature begins meeting next week, Cox said lawmakers will consider what to do about the Test to Stay program in schools that was intended to keep students in the classroom but instead has identified so many omicron cases that many schools are returning briefly to remote learning.
Utah House Speaker Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, said lawmakers intend to “figure out the right path forward” on schools, pointing out that “government, as we all know, doesn’t get to decide how pandemics behave.”
But the question of whether the Legislature may overturn the mask mandates put in place by health departments in Summit and Salt Lake counties was not addressed. Reporters who did not attend the news conference in person were not allowed to ask questions.
Asked in general about masking against omicron, Cox said, “We all have to make these calculations. If you are vaxxed, and you are boosted and you are a healthy person, you make a decision based on that information.” He said for those at risk — especially the unvaccinated — “then an N95 mask could make a significant difference.”
State epidemiologist Dr. Leisha Nolen detailed the new advice on COVID-19 testing now that omicron has pushed Utah’s daily case counts well beyond the previous record of nearly 5,000 infections in a single day last winter in what was seen as the worst of the pandemic.
“There’s so many cases going around now, we know that if you have symptoms, you most likely have COVID. So the benefit of getting that test has really decreased. What is more important is keeping you away from other people so you don’t transmit it,” Nolen said.
Now, anyone with symptoms — often described as similar to a cold or flu — should stay home and isolate for five days and “act as if you are a confirmed COVID case,” she said. That means on Day 6, those who are feeling better and don’t have a fever can return …read more
Source:: Deseret News – Utah News
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