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Salt Lake County mayor says officials ‘haven’t ruled out’ seeking local mask mandate after April 10

Utah reports another 467 cases of coronavirus on Saturday.

(Francisco Kjolseth | Tribune file photo) Nurse Julia Paas, right, goes over information with Betsy Altschuler as she gets ready to receive her second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Utah Film Studios in Park City on Thursday, March 18, 2021.

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Another 467 Utahns have tested positive for the coronavirus, state health officials reported Saturday, but the number of people hospitalized and gravely ill with the disease has dropped over the past day.

The daily test positivity rate was slightly below the seven-day average, although an infectious disease doctor on Friday expressed concern that the state’s daily case counts might be plateauing rather than continuing to drop and encouraged people not to let their guard down yet.

Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson on Saturday said she hasn’t ruled out trying to pass a local mask mandate after April 10, when statewide face covering requirements would cease under a bill recently passed by the Utah Legislature. The measure, which has yet to be signed into law by Gov. Spencer Cox, would allow county and city councils to enact their own mandates — but those would also expire as soon as the state meets certain benchmarks for virus containment.

Utah is already close to meeting the thresholds laid out in the bill.

Wilson said the most likely scenario for a countywide mandate would be if the health department recommends one and the county council approves it.

“We are currently working through those options and waiting on the approval of the bill,” she said.

The state’s two top local leaders are now in a similar posture when it comes to the possibility of enacting mask mandates after April 10, with Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall saying earlier this week that city attorneys are evaluating the option. Mendenhall has also asked local businesses to keep enforcing masks until public health officials say it is safe to go without them, and Wilson said she supports this advice.

Vaccine doses administered in past day/total doses administered • 25,861/1,137,046.

Utahns fully vaccinated • 413,058.

Cases reported in past day • 467.

Deaths reported in past day • 2.

Davis County reported a single death: A man between the ages of 65 and 84.

There was one death reported in Weber County, a man aged 65 to 85.

Hospitalizations reported in past day • 160. That’s down 16 from Friday. Of those currently hospitalized, 57 are in intensive care units — four fewer than on Friday.

Tests reported in past day • 6,451 people were tested for the first time. A total of 14,990 people were tested.

Percentage of positive tests • Under the state’s original method, the rate is 7.1%. That’s lower than the seven-day average of 8.1%.

Its new method counts all test results, including repeated tests of the same individual. Saturday’s rate is now at 3.1%, lower than the seven-day average of 4.1%.

[Read more: Utah is changing how it measures the rate of positive COVID-19 tests. Here’s what that means.]

Totals to date • 381,254 cases; 2,060 deaths; 15,267 hospitalizations; 2,327,182 people tested.

- Tribune reporter Leia Larsen contributed to this report.



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