Governor again encourages all Utahns to become vaccinated

FILE PHOTO - A teen receives a vaccine. Photo courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Gov. Spencer Cox talked to the media Tuesday morning to encourage all unvaccinated Utahns to get a shot and he outlined the vaccine options families can make for their children.

“Parents, we’ve got two categories: those 12 and over and those under the age of 12,” Gov. Cox said. “Those 12 and over can get the vaccine and we encouraged you to do so.  Parents, you should know that if your child is not vaccinated, it is possible that they will get COVID this year. When the outbreaks start in schools again, there will very likely be disruptions to learning and extra curricular activities, unless students are vaccinated.”

He said a child that is vaccinated won’t have to quarantine, they won’t have to miss practices, games or competitions.

He reminded Utahns there has been an uptick in deaths among younger people.

“Unlike earlier in the virus when most of our deaths were over the age of 65,” Gov. Cox added, “there is a reason for that, and that is that we’ve done a great job vaccinating people that are over the age of 65. And so they are being protected. It’s the people under the age of 65 who have not got vaccinated, and that’s a problem and that’s why we’re seeing deaths under that younger cohort.”

Gov. Cox called the latest wave a “pandemic of the unvaccinated,” yet maintained the state wouldn’t be following New York in requiring people show they got the shot. Still, if private companies require some sort of proof, state would support them, he said.

“The delta variant is highly contagious and it’s spreading rapidly. Our hospital ICUs are filling up and our healthcare workers are feeling the strain,” he said. Hospitals have a shortage of qualified healthcare workers more than a year into the punishing pandemic.

Intensive-care units around the state have exceeded 100% capacity multiple times over the last several days, according to officials with Intermountain Healthcare.

The state had more than 6,000 new cases over the past week, about 90% of those affected unvaccinated people, hospital system officials said. There’s also a national shortage of a medication shown to be effective in treating COVID called Tocilizumab, doctors said.

Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson, who said she still suffers the effects of her own battle with COVID, was blunt: “Everybody who is unvaccinated is part of the problem,” she said.

When the Utah Health Department (UDOH) reported COVID numbers Tuesday there were 728 new infections statewide since Monday, including 57 in the BRHD.

Tuesday’s data also shows five new COVID deaths reported since Monday and there have been 2,471 total deaths in Utah since the start of the pandemic, including 114 in Cache, Box Elder and Rich counties.

Statewide, COVID hospitalizations have grown to 395 which is 28 more than on Monday and 171 of those patients are in intensive care units, eight more than Monday. To date 18,770 Utahns have been hospitalized with the virus.

The rolling seven-day average for positive tests has grown to 877 a day.

The state’s rolling seven-day average for percent positivity of “people over people” has grown to 15 percent while the rolling seven-day average for percent positivity of “tests over tests” is 10.6 percent.

In Idaho 2,203 people have lost their lives to the virus. The state’s total of confirmed COVID-19 cases is 201,352. Case counts in the three counties in southeast Idaho include 1,261 positive cases in Franklin County, 423 in Bear Lake County and 378 in Oneida County.

Portions of this report were provided by the Associated Press

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