SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s number of COVID-19 cases has increased by 3,203 on Thursday, with a record-high 30 more deaths reported, according to the Utah Department of Health.
The rolling seven-day average number of positive cases per day is now at 2,570, according to the health department. The positive test rate per day for that time period is now 22.3%. There are now 556 COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized in Utah, state data shows.
Also Thursday, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert announced that the 10 p.m. curfew for selling alcohol at restaurants and bars in the state will be lifted starting Friday.
Herbert announced the news Thursday morning during the final PBS Utah news conference before he leaves office.
Restaurants and bars in the state agreed to several provisions to keep their spaces safe for patrons as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Herbert said. They’re willing to require social distancing, maintain limited capacities and require mask wearing at all times unless patrons are eating or drinking. Additionally, people will have to be stationary inside the restaurant or bar while they are eating or drinking, so people can’t walk around a bar carrying a drink in their hand, Herbert said.
Herbert also announced that quarantine guidelines for students at Utah schools will change after the first of the year. Students who had a close contact with another student who tested positive for COVID-19 will be allowed to stay in the classroom, so long as all students were wearing masks at the time of the contact, Herbert announced.
Data shows that classrooms are a low-risk environment for COVID-19 transmission, so state leaders made the decision to update those guidelines, Herbert said.
The governor added that he believes most teachers would welcome measures to keep students in classrooms because in-person learning is more effective than remote instruction.
State leaders hope to vaccinate Utah teachers by mid-January, and in the meantime, teachers are able to get tested for COVID-19 every week if they wish to do so, Herbert said.
“That will help give them some confidence, I think, going forward and hopefully boost morale,” he said. “Our teachers have (shown) up every day to do their part, and so we thank them, we recognize their good work.
Herbert will also be speaking at 11:30 a.m. Thursday at a COVID-19-related news conference. That event will be livestreamed below.
PBS Utah hosts monthly news conferences with the governor, and this will be Herbert’s final appearance on the event before his successor, Gov.-elect Spencer Cox, takes office.
Watch the COVID-19 news conference live stream below.
Watch the replay of Herbert’s PBS Utah news conference below.
This story will be updated.
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Gov. Herbert lifts 10 p.m. alcohol curfew as state sees record-high 30 new COVID-19 deaths, 3,203 cases /p>