Summit County officials end COVID-19 emergency declaration |

Summit County officials end COVID-19 emergency declaration

The local state of emergency declaration was rescinded nearly two years after it was introduced

On March 30, Summit County officials rescinded the state of emergency declaration they issued more than two years ago in response to the coronavirus pandemic. RN Sharon Dorsey receives paperwork from a patient as she and other healthcare professionals administer the Moderna vaccine at the Utah Film Studios Friday afternoon, Jan. 22, 2021. (Tanzi Propst/Park Record)

Summit County officials rescinded the state of emergency declaration they issued more than two years ago as the Summit County Health Department pushes for a more individual-focused approach to COVID – which for some may include another booster shot.

Phil Bondurant and Shelley Worley, the director and deputy director of the Summit County Health Department, met with Summit County Council on March 30 to provide an update about the future of the pandemic in the community. Although there is still some concern about COVID, they said there is no longer a need for emergency response and will transition back to a traditional public health role heading into spring.

“We do find ourselves in a very remarkable spot,” Bondurant said. “Those metrics that we use under the current situation would indicate that we are no longer in an emergency state as it relates to COVID.”

The shift comes as more tools like vaccines, boosters, monoclonal antibodies and oral antivirals — specifically at various health care systems, hospitals and urgent care centers – have become widely available to the general public. Moving forward, Bondurant asks each community member to consider the right health and safety precautions for themselves as well as others.

For older adults and immunocompromised individuals, this could include receiving a second booster. The Summit County Health Department began administering the vaccine on Friday after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized an additional dose on March 29 upon the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Individuals seeking a second booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines must be at least 50 years old and have received their first booster dose at least four months earlier.

Children aged 12 and older can receive the Pfizer vaccine if they are immunocompromised and individuals who have undergone organ transplants or who are living with conditions that are considered equal to being immunocompromised also qualify, according to the Summit County Health Department. Individuals who are 18 or older with the same conditions may receive the Moderna vaccine.

The Health Department is not planning to host another mass vaccination clinic to administer the second booster vaccine but will offer it at its locations in Coalville, Park City and Kamas. Individuals seeking another dose are asked to make an appointment with the Summit County Health Department during business hours.

As of April 5, around 46% of people living in Summit County who are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine have received a booster shot. The figure was around 33% in January, when health officials hoped to increase the rate in response to the more contagious omicron variant.

Officials also continue to monitor new variants like BA.2, which Bondurant said is likely already within the community. However, he believes the high vaccination rates in Summit County – 87% of eligible residents have completed their vaccination series – will prevent another spike in cases. Daily case counts in Summit County have been in the single digits nearly every day since late February, according to the most recent data provided by the Health Department.

“One of the many things we’ve learned during this process is that Summit County is always the canary in the mine for the state of Utah. Being that BA.2 has been found in other parts of the United States, I have no doubt it’s present in the community,” Bondurant said. “As it sits here in Summit County, we’ll keep an eye on it.”

Summit County is also testing at a higher rate than anywhere else in the state, according to Bondurant. While the Utah Department of Health began closing testing sites as part of Utah’s “steady state” response, testing in Summit County remained available. Local health officials plan to continue offering testing in some capacity through the end of the school year by utilizing a third-party contractor as well as self-testing kiosks in Coalville and Kamas.

The Health Department also created a committee to distribute home test kits provided by the state to local organizations that assist certain populations like senior citizens or child care centers to address possible future surges.

Since March 13, 2020, when the state’s first case of community transmission was identified in Summit County, the Health Department has administered 159,357 tests and reported 13,436 cases, according to Bondurant’s presentation. There have been 266 hospitalizations and 23 deaths in the county.

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