Box Elder County continues to see a handful of new COVID-19 cases on a daily basis, but the numbers have been on a steady decline in recent weeks as more people receive vaccines and the State of Utah prepares to scale back some of its coronavirus-related restrictions.
The total number of cases since the beginning of the pandemic just over a year ago surpassed 5,000 in Box Elder County last week, while the number of deaths in the county attributed to COVID-19 had reached 50 as of Monday.
The total number of active cases in the county was at 139 on Monday, with a seven-day average of just over five new cases per day. A total of 239 Box Elder County residents have been hospitalized due to the illness.
The figures show that 5,419 people, or 14.1% of all Box Elder County adults, had been fully immunized through vaccinations as of Monday, compared with 15.9% of adults across the entire Bear River Health District, which includes Box Elder, Cache and Rich counties.
Box Elder has seen a higher death rate from COVID-19 than the health district as a whole, primarily because of a higher incidence of virus infections among older and more vulnerable populations in the county.
Meanwhile, Utah is poised to start relaxing its coronavirus-related restrictions as cases have continued on a downward trend.
Utah's mask mandate will end April 10 after the governor signed a bill last week that lays out a new timeline for lifting some of the state's COVID-19 restrictions.
Mask orders will remain in place for schools and gatherings of more than 50 people, and businesses can still choose to require them. Gov. Spencer Cox signed the measure on March 24, the same day that vaccinations opened to all people in the state aged 16 and older.
New coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in Utah have been on a downward trend since January. More than 478,000 of the state’s 3.2 million residents have been fully vaccinated, according to state data, and more than 860,000 have received at least one vaccine dose.
Approximately 385,000 virus cases had been reported in Utah as of Monday, along with more than 2,100 known deaths.
Utah is on pace to remove all coronavirus-related restrictions by July if transmission rates keep dropping, but the situation could change, Cox said last week.
He urged residents to get vaccinated as soon as possible and to remain cautious.
Cox made the announcement before he and his wife received their first dose at a vaccination center in Utah County.
”Even if we do see an increase in cases, the fact that we have vaccinated so many of our most at-risk population makes us even less vulnerable to the outcomes," Cox said at his weekly COVID-19 briefing.
About 80% of people 65 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Over half of that group have been fully vaccinated, said Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson.
New coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in Utah are expected to continue decreasing as the vaccine rollout continues, said State Epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.