SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Utah is ready to roll back our state’s pandemic response.

As of Friday morning, Gov. Spencer Cox and state health leaders say Utah will begin transitioning out of our longstanding emergency response to COVID-19.

Governor Spencer Cox says beginning March 31, Utah will move into what’s called a “steady state” of response to COVID-19.

Access to COVID testing will change, and vaccines will remain at the forefront as Utah heads back into somewhat of normalcy again.

But is not the end of the pandemic, Governor Cox says “but it is the beginning of treating COVID like other seasonal viruses.”

At Friday’s press conference Cox along with state health officials says while covid-19 will certainly continue to have an effect on the lives of many Utahns…we are in a much better place than we were even six months ago, thanks to more accessible testing, and widespread vaccine availability.
Utah will now head into a six-week transition period.

“Some elements of the response will be the responsibility of our healthcare system,” the Governor said.
Many testing sites throughout the state will close as a part of this phase.

“So you think about other types of testing you get doctors’ offices and urgent cares this is where will covid testing will go,” Nate Checketts of the Utah Department of Health said.

People are encouraged to also use at-home tests that are now more widely available.
Checketts says the transition actually began weeks ago as testing sites started seeing smaller lines.

While the majority of the response will be in the hands of Utah’s healthcare system, state epidemiologist Dr. Leisha Nolen says the health department will continue to monitor the covid-19 trends so in case of another surge the state’s response can ramp back up quickly.

“We have wastewater surveillance where we can see if people are shedding the virus or they are having less meaningless spread,” Nolen said.

Both the Governor and health officials say as the state begins to adapt to this new response phase, he’s hopeful businesses as well as individuals will monitor and manage their own personal risk. 

Governor Cox says if you’re feeling sick please consider the health of others and stay home and if you can’t stay home then continue to mask up.