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Here’s when you’ll be able to remove your mask in Utah — with a caveat

First, the state needs more than 1 million additional first doses of vaccine. Then mandates will start to lift in counties with low virus transmission rates.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Karen Johnson, a grief counselor with the Jordan Family Education Center receives her second covid-19 vaccination on Friday. Employees of the Jordan School District were invited to West Hills Middle School to receive their coronavirus vaccination, Feb. 12, 2021.

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For the 10th time in 11 days, Utah reported fewer than 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday — a total of 716.

And the state released an update of its COVID-19 public health order, setting its requirements for lifting mask mandates.

First, 1,633,000 first doses of COVID-19 vaccines must have been allocated to the state. So far, the federal government has allocated 444,905 to Utah.

Eight weeks after that point in time, masks will not be required in counties designated as having a “low” transmission level of the virus.

As of this week, only five rural Utah counties — Daggett, Garfield, Piute, Rich and Wayne — are in the low-transmission category

Health officials also reported a dozen new deaths, although seven of those occurred before Feb. 1 and were only recently confirmed as coronavirus-related.

Vaccinations reported in past day/total vaccinations • 11,966 / 623,876.

Number of Utahns who have received two doses • 213,278.

Cases reported in past day • 716.

Deaths reported in past day • 12.

Salt Lake County reported four deaths — two men and a woman between the ages of 65 and 84, and a woman over 85.

There were two deaths in Davis County — a man 45-64 and a woman 65-84.

And two deaths in Sevier County — both women over 85.

Four counties each reported a single death — a woman 65-84 in Cache County, a man 65-84 in Utah County, a man 65-84 in Washington County, and a man 65-84 in Weber County.

Hospitalizations reported in past day • 239. That’s up two from Monday. Of those currently hospitalized, 95 are in intensive care units — four fewer than on Monday.

Tests reported in past day • 6,458 people were tested for the first time. A total of 18,480 people were tested.

Percentage of positive tests • Under the state’s original method, the rate is 11.1%. That’s lower than the seven-day average of 13.3%.

Its new method counts all test results, including repeated tests of the same individual. Tuesday’s rate is now at 3.9%, lower than the seven-day average of 6.2%.

Totals to date • 367,789 cases; 1,865 deaths; 14,520 hospitalizations; 2,172,963 people tested.

The state’s updated public health order also specifies how students can get tested for the coronavirus to remain in school or participate in high school extracurricular activities.

The renewed order provides guidelines to school districts to implement the “test to stay” protocols when a school has an outbreak; students can opt either to shift to remote learning or continue with in-person classes if they get a negative COVID-19 test. The order also includes rules for “test to play,” through which high school students can take part in one-time extracurricular events — for example, prom — if they get tested two weeks in advance.

Also, rules for bars and public gatherings are being loosened in counties with moderate transmission levels. Bars in those counties are no longer required to limit occupancy to 75%, but they must ensure patrons wear masks when they’re within 6 feet of a separate party.

People at public gatherings — including movie theaters, sporting events, weddings, and recreation and entertainment activities — in moderate transmission counties can sit side-by-side if they’re all wearing masks, have no COVID symptoms and are not subject to quarantine or isolation. If someone at the event tests positive, event hosts must be able to contact those who were in close contact with that person.

As of Tuesday, only eight Utah counties — Box Elder, Carbon, Duchesne, Millard, Morgan, San Juan, Uintah and Weber — are in the moderate zone.

Sixteen counties in Utah remain in the high transmission category; they include most of the state’s main population centers in Salt Lake, Utah, Davis, Washington and Cache counties.

Rich Saunders, the executive director for the Utah Department of Health, signed the renewed order Monday night. It is effective through March 25.


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