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As COVID-19 testing numbers decrease in Utah, free testing still offered

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Utah health officials are still offering free COVID-19 across state.

The Utah Department of Health is expressing concerns about fewer and fewer Utahns getting tested.

Statewide, the number of COVID tests done daily has essentially been cut in half, according to the health department. With virus variants spreading, health officials cautioned now is not the time to ignore symptoms of illness.

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Farmers Feeding Utah Campaign Helps Hundreds Of Emery County Families

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CASTLE DALE, Utah – The Farmers Feeding Utah campaign made its latest stop in Castle Dale on Wednesday, hoping to help struggling Emery County families.

“It’s not going to change their lives, but it will make things a little easier for a few meals,” said Dusty Huntington.

The campaign to date has supplied over 1 million pounds of food across several counties — all with the help of local farmers and ranchers.

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Feeling ill? Here’s where you can get a free COVID-19 test

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Free rapid antigen COVID-19 testing is, again, being offered by the Utah Department of Health across the state this week.

New sites are targeted each week based on high positivity rates, fewer tests conducted, untreated wastewater sampling, and other surveillance data, according to a news release.

Everyone is encouraged to wear masks and practice social distancing while waiting in line. Some locations may be drive-thru, while others will be conducted in buildings.

Children three and older can get tested at these free testing clinics, even if they do not have symptoms of COVID-19. Anyone who has any symptoms, even mild ones, should come and get tested.

Anyone who has come in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 while they were infectious should quarantine and get tested. Wait seven days after the time you were around the infected person to come and get tested. This lets enough of the virus build up in the body to be detected by the tests.

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New St. George-area hospital slated to open October 2023

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Steward Health Care announced Wednesday it has finalized a deal to build a new state-of-the-art hospital serving the St. George area.

Slated to open in October 2023 in Washington, it’s set to anchor the Zion Medical Village, a planned community “uniquely positioned to provide healthcare to a growing region,” according to a press release.

The hospital will offer a full range of care including orthopedics, cardiovascular car and other outpatient services, with additional medical facilities set to open on the same campus.

“St. George is set to see a roaring demand for new health care services in the years ahead,” Brian Dunn, Steward’s West Region President, said in the press release. “Steward will work closely with our community partners in Southern Utah to meet this need and unlock access to affordable, economically sustainable care and wellness.”

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Utah County Begins Vaccinations For Residents 16+

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AMERICAN FORK, Utah – Happening across Utah, those 16 and older are now eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

But in Utah County, they are already poking arms in this most recent rollout because appointments opened last Thursday.

“Yeah I’m excited,” said 18-year-old Truman Porter, a Pleasant Grove High School senior who received the vaccine Wednesday morning. “I didn’t even notice it going in. It was fine. It was great.”

Since he’s legally an adult, he could get the vaccine on his own, but is mom came along anyway because his little sister is also rolling up her sleeve for the Pfizer vaccine.

“She just turned 16 like a week ago,” Porter said. “So it is great she could get it.”

He and his sister are among thousands in Utah who signed up for the vaccine. More than 4,200 appointments are set in Utah County alone over the next three days.

Continue Reading on KSLTV

When can I get the vaccine? Utah counties differ on when first appointments are available

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Many Utahns are now rushing to find vaccine appointments, although local health departments differ on when they’ll start offering them to the general public.

Some have appointments available next Wednesday, the first day all people 16 years of age and older are eligible, while Salt Lake County won’t have availability until the first full week of April.

  • Salt Lake County Health Department“We are not currently scheduling appointments for people under 50 unless they have a qualifying medical condition. We expect to open appointment scheduling for all Utahns on Monday, March 22. These appointments will be for dates after April 4, as our appointments through April 3 are booked by people belonging to previously eligible groups.”

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Utah cases plateau as state reaches milestone of 1 million COVID-19 vaccines administered

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The rate of daily COVID-19 cases has held steady recently, following an encouraging decline in recent weeks.

Over the past seven days, Utah saw 3,529 new coronavirus cases. That’s down slightly compared to the week before, when the state health department reported 3,615 new cases. Over those two weeks, the daily average of new cases is 510.25.

The state’s own tracking dashboard indicates that since March 8, Utah has seen cases level out after two months of decline. The last time the state reported a plateau in cases before this one was Jan. 10.

One possible reason for the plateau could lie in the rise of several coronavirus variants that have made their way to the United States in recent months, fueling questions from state officials on how to react to them. The variants are thought to spread more easily among people and possibly cause more severe disease.

The state has tallied 67 cases of the U.K. variant (labeled B.1.1.7), but none of the South Africa (B.1.351) or Brazil (P.1) variants yet. However, the health department’s reporting of that data is behind by about two weeks.

The current plateau leaves the state at roughly the same spot it was in back in June, when cases were averaging about 470 per day. That’s when state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn said the rate of spread might soon warrant “a complete shutdown.”

Continue Reading on The Salt Lake Tribune

Here’s where eligible Utahns can get COVID-19 vaccination appointments

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Another 700,000 Utahns just became eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday — the first day, officially, that people age 50 and up could sign up for an appointment.

People with diabetes, chronic kidney disease or a body mass index of 30 or higher also became eligible, Gov. Spencer Cox announced last Thursday. He asked Utahns wait until Monday to book their appointments, to allow locations to prepare for the rush of new cases — but some agencies didn’t wait, and started making appointments Thursday.

So where does one get an appointment? The Utah Department of Health is working through county and regional health departments, health care companies and pharmacy chains to distribute the vaccine as widely and as quickly as possible. Cox has said his policy is to “embrace the chaos,” and he encouraged residents to keep checking back when they can’t get an immediate slot. The sites saw demand surge on Monday.

Continue Reading on The Salt Lake Tribune

Utahns Age 50+ Eligible For Shots While ‘Vaccine Chasers’ Continue To Wait

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LEHI, Utah – Utahns age 50 and older are now eligible to make an appointment to get a COVID-19 vaccine, while “vaccine chasers” continue to wait for their shot to get the shot.

“I thought maybe I’d come by,” said Dustin Bunderson, inside the Megaplex Theater in Lehi. It’s one of five theater locations that doubles as a vaccine site for Nomi Health.

“My wife said she saw something on Facebook or something that said you could come get a vaccine if there’s anything leftover,” he said.

Bunderson’s wife is a nurse and has already received the vaccine. They have a trip planned in April and he wanted to be sure COVID-19 doesn’t get in the way of it. That is why Thursday’s trip to the movies was not about the popcorn, but about chasing a shot he wasn’t yet eligible to get.

Continue Reading on KSLTV

Utah County identifies new locations for vaccinations

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The Utah County Health Department is moving to a larger vaccination site in Provo, and opening a new site in American Fork.

The American Fork site is just off the highway, and will be able to give as many as 2,100 shots a day.

Danica Topham with the Utah County Health Department says next week, the new American Fork site will be added to their vaccine locations.

“We have about 9,000 doses coming next week,” Topham said. “So we’ll distribute those among the sites, and in the future, if that dose allotment goes up, then we can… we’re ready for that.”

And soon, the department will be moving its Provo vaccination site to a larger location, allowing for up to about 2,100 doses at each site each day.

Continue Reading on KUTV

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