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Gov. Spencer Cox Warns Utah Has Reached A ‘Breaking Point’ With Hospitalizations Amid Surge In COVID Cases

Gov. Spencer Cox said Utahns are getting vaccinated, but “we desperately need more people” to get the shot.
Kristin Murphy
Deseret News
Gov. Spencer Cox said Utahns are getting vaccinated, but “we desperately need more people” to get the shot.

During his first COVID-19 update in nearly a month, Gov. Spencer Cox shared a dire message about the state of Utah’s health care system.

“We find ourselves at the breaking point of our hospitalizations,” Cox said.

He said there was a point last week when there were no ICU beds available in the state. That’s the first time that’s happened since the start of the pandemic.

“To our health care workers ... we are grateful for your sacrifice and your service,” he said. “I'm sorry that you are going through this again.”

Tuesday’s press conference comes as kids are starting school. So far this school year, there have been 1,282 cases in schools. Students accounted for 1,049.

Michelle Hofmann, deputy director of the Utah Department of Health, said getting vaccinated and wearing masks is the way to respond to the surge. She said it will also help alleviate the mental health issues health care workers and affected families are dealing with.

“The path to healing is the end of this pandemic, and it hasn't ended yet,” she said. “Even if we want to pretend it has, there will be deep and enduring harms to our children and generations to come if we do not stop the divisiveness around the things we know work, like masks and vaccines.”

Cox said he plans to meet with the state Legislature to discuss possible responses to the ongoing pandemic. He didn’t say what those measures could look like except that there’s “no way” they’d approve a mask mandate.

“We need elected leaders also to understand what is happening on the ground and in schools and in their communities,” he said.

On Tuesday, the state health department reported 1,218 new daily cases and 485 hospitalizations.

Emily Means is a government and politics reporter at KUER.
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