Gov. Cox introduces employment initiative; students must still wear masks in school

Gov. Spencer Cox speaks during the weekly COVID briefing at Northrop Grumman in Roy on Thursday, April 1, 2021. Seated is Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson.

Thursday Gov. Spencer Cox once again took his COVID press conference on the road, this time to Northrop Grumman in Roy where Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson introduced the Returnship Initiative to expand workforce opportunities in Utah, and the Governor signed an executive order for state agencies to create more work opportunities for the new initiative.

Dr. Angela Dunn, state epidemiologist, speaks during the weekly COVID briefing at Northrop Grumman in Roy on Thursday, April 1, 2021. With Dr. Dunn is Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson and Gov. Spencer Cox.

Of course the Governor addressed the continuing fight against the coronavirus.

He said the state’s K-12 students must continue to wear masks while they are in class to limit the spread of COVID-19. He said Thursday some parents want the mandate lifted before the end of school.

“As you know, under the bill that was passed in the senate, the pandemic-ending bill, masks are still required in schools moving forward. And there’s a reason for that,” Gov. Cox exclaimed. “We’re trying to get as many people vaccinated as possible. Obviously, kids aren’t at as high a risk for hospitalization or death as older people. But they do transmit the virus, still.”

The Utah Department of Health said the law allows the mask mandate for students to run through June 15.

The Governor said for the first time since transmission categories were created, no counties are in the “high” category. He said of Utah’s 29 counties 23 are in the moderate transmission category and six are in low.

“This means that everything that we are doing here in Utah,” Gov. Cox added, “everything that you are doing is absolutely working and we want you to continue to do those things so that we can drive those case counts down as vaccinations increase.”

There were three new COVID-19 deaths statewide since Wednesday and now 2,125 Utahns have lost their lives to the coronavirus.

Utah’s coronavirus update Thursday reports 487 new positive cases of the virus including 38 of them found in northern Utah.

The state health department said with 46,011 more vaccines administered since Wednesday, vaccinations now total over 1.4 million. Over a half million Utahns are now fully vaccinated (521,686).

There have been 180,536 confirmed coronavirus cases and 1,962 COVID-19 deaths in Idaho. In three southeast Idaho counties case counts include 1,147 positive cases in Franklin County, 367 in Bear Lake County and 347 in Oneida County.

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