SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – After a year into the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, the light at the end of the tunnel feels closer than ever. The number of vaccinations surpassed the number of positive cases in the U.S., the infection rate is continuously declining in most parts of the country, and a number of local municipalities are beginning to ease off of their restrictions and safety measures.
Allie Spangler, Chief Operating Officer at the Utah Health Care Association joined ABC4’s Rosie Nguyen on the CW30 News at 7 p.m. for an IN FOCUS discussion about how most of the state’s long-term healthcare facilities have re-opened visitation to outside guests and the positive impact they’ve had from vaccinations. Residents living at these facilities were one of the hardest-hit groups. Out of more than 2,000 COVID-19 deaths in Utah, nearly 700 of those were residents in long-term care, calculating to about 1 out of every 26 residents dying from the virus.
Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez talked about they hit zero COVID-19 positive cases and deaths this week for the first time in six months, what safety measures and protocols were most successful in their effects to curb the virus, and how the vaccination roll-out has been on the reservation. At one point during the pandemic, the area had the highest COVID-19 infection rate in the country and have been disproportionately impacted by the virus.
Dr. Audrey Stevenson, Vaccination Director for the Salt Lake County Health Department addressed how the agency prepared for the first day that Utahns 16 years of age and older became eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, how they were able to open their scheduling system two days early, why members of the public should not be shopping around for different vaccines, the misconceptions around efficacy rates, and whether there’s a concern about new variants.
To watch the full IN FOCUS discussion with Spangler, Pres. Nez, and Dr. Stevenson, click on the video at the top of the article.
Catch IN FOCUS discussions with ABC4’s Rosie Nguyen weeknights on the CW30 News at 7 p.m.