Vaccination efforts ongoing as Utah’s COVID-19 cases continue to rise

University of Utah Healthcare team members conduct COVID-19 testing at the U. Wellness Bus test site in the Cattle Barn at the Utah State Fairpark in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021.

University of Utah Healthcare team members conduct COVID-19 testing at the U. Wellness Bus test site in the Cattle Barn at the Utah State Fairpark in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. | Steve Griffin, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — As Utah’s vaccination program ramps up, officials warn that continuing to follow current public health guidelines to avoid transmission of the novel coronavirus is imperative.

“We are months out from having a good control over the spread of infection,” Intermountain Healthcare’s Community Health and Prevention Medical Director Dr. Tamara Sheffield said on Wednesday.

She said a person is about 52% immune after one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and that jumps to 95% after fulfilling the two-dose regimen set by manufacturers of the vaccines available now.

The state has administered 124,884 vaccines so far, including a large portion for health care workers who have received both doses. Sheffield said at least 4,000 at Intermountain have been fully vaccinated. She is hopeful the vaccine will continue its current popularity.

Another 14,354 were given Tuesday, the Utah Department of Health reports. It is working to roll out vaccines to a larger portion of the population, including public school personnel and people age 70 and older, though each health district is handling it differently.

“Unless we get a large enough portion of the population to be vaccinated or immune to the disease, we will not control the spread of the disease,” Sheffield said. “The vaccines work better in an environment where there is less exposure, as well, so we are trying to reduce the risk in both ways. If we don’t get enough people under that threshold, we don’t control the spread.”

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The health department reported another 5,188 new cases of COVID-19 in the state on Wednesday, including 2,289 that were identified as early as June of last year, but were not included in the overall count due to incomplete information for the person diagnosed. Until now, the health department has not counted cases without a verifiable Utah address.

The total number of known COVID-19 cases in Utah is now 314,817, with a seven-day average test positivity rate of 27.8%.

Utah has the 7th highest number of average daily cases in the country per 100,000 people

There are 566 people being treated with COVID-19 at hospitals throughout Utah and the state health department noted another 27 deaths on Wednesday, including nine that occurred before Dec. 23.

In all, there have been 1,449 deaths in Utah caused by COVID-19.

This story will be updated.

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Source:: Deseret News – Utah News

      

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