Governor asks for ‘continued patience’ as Utah’s vaccine rollout experiences hiccups

The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is administered at the Salt Lake County Government Center in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021.

The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is administered at the Salt Lake County Government Center in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021. | Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Health departments have experienced higher than anticipated interest in the COVID-19 vaccine, and with that has come myriad logistical issues.

“I know everyone is anxious to get in line to get the vaccine,” Utah Gov. Spencer Cox said on Thursday. “We are trying to do everything possible to open it up more broadly.”

He asked for continued patience from all Utahns as the system gets ramped up.

Most locations won’t begin distribution of their allotment of the COVID-19 vaccines until Monday, Cox said.

To date, the state has administered 133,202 doses of the vaccine, nearly double the 68,030 doses reported by the Utah Department of Health one week ago.

The expansion of the state’s vaccination program is not without its shortfalls, however, and Cox said the state is working to get all the shots in the arms of people as quickly as possible.

The health department reported 2,742 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, as well as 11 more deaths from the disease. In addition, 16,231 more people were tested since Wednesday, which is significantly more than the state has been reaching previously.

State epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn said ramped up manufacturing and the availability of a new rapid antigen test has made it possible to test more people — a goal of the state since early in the pandemic.

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“We have flooded 33 communities with rapid testing,” she said, adding that these are communities that were experiencing high case numbers or limited test capacity. “It helps to identify cases more quickly and slow the spread.”

Increased testing is helping decrease the case numbers, Dunn said. Utah’s test positivity rate dropped from nearly 33% a week ago to 26% on Thursday. The average number of daily cases, too, are down about 400 from last week.

The health department reported 559 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19, which is fewer than earlier this week, but still more than is ideal.

The death toll in Utah now stands at 1,460.

This story will be updated.

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Source:: Deseret News – Utah News

      

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