‘We can’t let our guard down’: Utah could see worst stretch of cases in coming weeks

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Utah (ABC4) – Thursday, Utah Governor Gary Herbert addressed the state in his weekly coronavirus press conference. 

Utah is about nine months into the pandemic and Gov. Herbert says according to the CDC, the reality of it is we still have many months of hardship to go. 

The next 45 to 60 days could be the “toughest stretch of all,” Gov. Herbert adds. 

On Nov. 8, in preparation for Thanksgiving Gov. Herbert called for a two-week pause, a reset, in efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. Utahns were asked to limit their gathering to those who live in their homes and a statewide mask mandate was issued. “We appreciate the work of many people,” Gov. Herbert shares Thursday.

Gov. Herbert adds that the stateside mask mandate will stay in place. There is no current date for when the mandate will expire. “They are an important aspect of slowing the spread.”  

Health officials mention they aren’t fully aware of the effects during the holiday season yet. and as cases rise, Herbert asked Utahns to continue safety efforts with Christmas and New Year’s around the corner. 

During the address, the governor also discussed statewide preparations being made to effectively obtain and distribute a COVID-19 vaccine. 

According to Utah.gov, the goal is to make it easy for everyone to get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as large quantities are available. There will only be a limited supply of the vaccine at first. This means policymakers must develop plans to make sure those who are at the highest-risk get the vaccine first.

The Utah Department of Health organized a workgroup made up of health professionals throughout the state to develop recommendations for how to prioritize vaccination groups on the state and local level.

Final recommendations for Utah’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan will be based on current information about COVID-19 vaccines, state and local data, vaccine storage capability of facilities, and guidance from the CDC and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

Health officials say they hope vaccines will become available over the next few weeks and months.

Gov Herbert shares that he believes we are on the verge of a breakthrough. He also adds that if vaccine plans go well, he hopes Utah will be on the road to recovery by springtime. 

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