Officials: U.K. COVID-19 variant in Utah, how to slow the spread

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – The Centers for Disease Control projects the U.K. variant will become the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the U.S. by March. Utah officials share how to slow the spread.

State epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn said they’re able to sequence 10% of all positive COVID-19 cases.  

“Which is a lot – compared nationally to other states, but we’re still not able to sequence every single person who becomes positive,” she said Thursday during the state’s weekly COVID briefing.

So far, the Utah Department of Health has identified two cases of the U.K. COVID-19 variant.

“The fact that we found two means it’s here, it is already community spread. So that means we need to be extra cautious when it comes to taking prevention measures,” Dunn said.

To avoid experiencing another surge in cases, Dunn said Utahns need to stay vigilant – continue to wear masks, social distance and avoid large get-togethers.

“It’s even more important to do it, knowing that the U.K variant is more transmissible, meaning it can infect more people more easily and to get the vaccine when it’s your turn,” she said. “That will ensure that we don’t experience another surge and we keep our cases trending downward.”

Governor Spencer Cox also encourages Utahns to upgrade the quality of their mask – if they can.

“We’re also working with the new administration on getting more and better masks out to people because again, we know that is incredibly effective,” Cox said. “The right quality mask protects the user as well as though around them.”

As more Utahns become vaccinated, Dunn said they expect COVID-19 data to trend downward.

However, she said not enough people are vaccinated yet to solely rely on it for full protection.

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