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Salt Lake County health officials urge vaccination as new school year approaches

Posted at 6:12 PM, Jul 29, 2022

SALT LAKE CITY — COVID-19 cases in Utah have been holding fairly steady the past several weeks, but health experts are gearing up for what they fear will be another surge when kids go back to school.

"In Salt Lake County at least, we’ve been really steady with about 3,000 new COVID cases every week, and that’s been the case for the past 8 weeks," said Salt Lake County executive director and medical director Dr. Angela Dunn.

She says that's good news, but even better news is that hospitalizations have also remained fairly steady.

"The fact that that’s remained steady for a couple months indicates that these new variants circulating aren’t causing more severe disease," Dunn said.

She recommended everyone who is eligible get their second booster vaccination. Right now, that is for those 50 and older and with certain medical conditions. Dunn said a targeted booster for everyone should be approved in the next couple of months.

"This one’s going to be reformulated specifically to target the Omicron variant, but also to predict the next variant that will be circulating in the fall," she said.

That's a time when kids go back to school and people start to gather in smaller enclosed areas, and they fear a surge in COVID cases.

Utah's vaccination rate is below the national average, and Dunn is encouraging everyone to get their shots.

"Right now the good news is that we’re in a totally different place than we were a year ago or two years ago, of course, with this pandemic," she said. "The biggest thing that makes it different is that we’ve got a vaccine that is effective."