Dear Friends and Neighbors,
With the COVID-19 vaccines slowly rolling out and with the holiday season rolling in, it would be easy to let our optimism and feelings of good-will overcome the vigilance we have lived by over the last few months. I get it, we want to be together to watch football, eat great food and enjoy good company. We can still do all that, we just need to add a few adjustments.
We all know and love people who are vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus. They, of all people, have felt the most isolated during this crazy year. Let’s commit to doing all we can to make sure they are looked after and protected from the virus. Victory is in sight, we just need to stay the course.
Highlights from Gov. Herbert’s weekly COVID-19 briefing:
Utah’s rolling seven-day average of new cases is 2,816 and the rolling seven-day percent positivity is 26.2 percent.
Starting today, the Utah Department of Health will launch automated contact tracing. This means that some people will receive a text instead of a phone call from contact tracers.
Gov. Herbert shared the federal government's commitment to sending Utah the first shipment of Pfizer vaccines within 24 hours of FDA approval. Through December, Utah is expected to receive 154,600 doses of the vaccine, with another 154,600 doses arriving in January.
Gov. Herbert announced that educators and staff in K-12 schools will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine during the first wave of distribution. He expects the vaccine to be available to teachers at the end of December or beginning of January.
The Utah Department of Health is in the process of incorporating new immunization data to the Coronavirus dashboard.
Phil Dean, acting director of the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget, shared where the state’s $935 million CARES Act funding was allocated.
$290 million was allocated for COVID-19 response
$249 million was allocated for economic response
$248 million was allocated to cities and counties
$148 million was allocated to education
To date, all CARES Act funding has been paid out, except about $200 million. This unpaid balance includes allocations for goods and services already provided in November. Payments are currently in process. The balance also includes goods and services that will be provided to the state in December.
Big ticket items still in the process include:
$80 million for COVID-19 testing
$64 million for schools
$20 million for fiber installation in rural Utah
$10 million for residential housing assistance
Watch the full briefing here.
State Data (as of December 15th)
Total Cases: 237,787
Total People Tested: 1,589,855
Total Hospitalizations: 9,585
Total Deaths: 1,077
Estimated Recovered: 181,000
Utah County Dept Health
Total Cases: 58,426
Total Tested: 325,841
Estimated Recovered: 45,718
The graph below shows Utah’s ICU capacity from May 1 through December 10.
High School Graduation Rates
Utah’s public high school graduation rate has risen to 88.2 percent in 2020, up nearly 1 percent from 2019’s rate of 87.4 percent, according to data released today by the Utah State Board of Education. This marks the eighth straight year of growth in the state’s high school graduation rate. Read more here.
Key officials with Operation Warp Speed reported that 20 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine could be distributed this month. More information here.
The U.S. Department of Defense released information on developing the COVID-19 vaccine, delivery milestones, the distribution process and timeline. Learn more here.
In the News:
I Look Forward to Hearing From You!
I'll try to continually keep you informed about my work on the Hill – likewise, please keep in touch – I’d love to hear your insights and opinions.
I can be reached by email at email@example.com. You’re also welcome to join me at the Capitol and if you’d like to meet with me in person outside of interim or the legislative session, you can reach Jason Gould at firstname.lastname@example.org. He’ll help us get in touch.
I’m truly grateful for the opportunity you’ve given me to serve in this capacity. We live in a unique and special place. Thank you for all you do to make Utah the best state in the nation – and thanks for paying attention.
Until next time,
Senator Dan McCay
Utah Senate District 11