HEALTH

Utah officials urge caution over lowering COVID-19 risk levels

Jun 11, 2020, 6:03 PM
Utah dashboard...
The Utah Health Department provides new numbers every day detailing new cases of COVID-19. But the state's dashboard offers a deeper look into what the numbers mean.

SALT LAKE CITY – Some portions of Utah are lowering their COVID-19 risk levels, but state officials say we’re nowhere near being ready to bring most of the state from “yellow to green.”  They say recent jumps in infection rates have forced them to pause moving into the low-risk phase of their plan.

Officials in Kane County asked the state to allow them to move into the green or “new normal” risk category and representatives from the Utah COVID-19 Community Task Force say they’re comfortable with that decision, based on the data they’ve seen from the Southwest Utah Public Health Department.  Also, Mexican Hat and Bluff will come down from moderate-risk to low-risk.

However, spikes in the number of COVID-19 cases and rates of infections have doctors worried. “The percent of positive tests [before Memorial Day] was hovering around 4% to 4.5%,” said state epidemiologist Angela Dunn.

“In the two weeks since we’ve seen the trend increase to 7% for a weekly average and then 10% positive for the last week.”

At the beginning of June, Utah saw between 400 and 500 new cases every day according to Dunn.  In the past few days, those numbers have stabilized, somewhat.

“When you’re seeing that plateau, it just means the rate of increase has been consistent.  What we want to see is a decline in the growth rate every single day.  We haven’t had the chance to experience that, yet, in Utah,” Dunn said.

Impact of protests on case count

So far, there isn’t any data that shows how much of an impact recent protests have had on the spread of the virus. That’s something the Utah Department of Health will watch, closely.

“It definitely can vary, day to day,” Dunn said. ” We’re going to look forward to really watching the trends over the next two weeks.”

Dunn says she’s heard distressing news about how Utahns are behaving when it comes to the spread of COVID-19.  She says she’s heard reports of people that are too relaxed about health recommendations. She says too many people aren’t wearing masks or taking social distancing seriously.

“These individual behaviors are essential for us to be able to stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect those at highest risk,” Dunn said.

Along with public health, Gov. Gary Herbert said the state must also be concerned about the public’s well-being.  He says current data shows fewer Utahns are applying for unemployment insurance, although new numbers are expected to come out next week. 

And he says he knows the state will see a large cut in state revenue due to the pandemic.  So he’s calling for a special legislative session at the end of next week to deal with this budget shortfall.

RELATED LINKS:

388 new cases, 3 new COVID-19 deaths reported in Utah

Model: Coronavirus deaths expected to go down but a sharp rise in September

80’s bands unite for COVID-19 relief charity show

 

How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus is transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
  • Get a flu shot.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A

Utah’s Coronavirus Information

UtahState Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

Health

FILE - A doctor loads a dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe, Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021, at ...
Aimee Cobabe

Bill banning vaccine passports heading to Utah Senate

A bill to ban vaccine passports is heading out of the Utah House and into the Utah Senate. The bill is similar to a failed bill from 2022.
2 days ago
A bill on transgender healthcare — banning transgender-related surgeries and puberty blockers for...
Eliza Pace, KSL TV and Aimee Cobabe, KSL NewsRadio

Utah Senate approves changes to transgender care bill, passes on to Gov. Cox

SB16 bans gender-confirming surgeries for minors and also places a moratorium on puberty blockers for minors.
5 days ago
Havasu Falls spills into the water pools below in Supai, Arizona, in October of 2016. Photo credit:...
Forrest Brown, CNN

Grand Canyon’s Havasu Falls to reopen to visitors after 3-year closure

 (CNN) — Havasu Falls, one of the most intriguing features of the Grand Canyon system, will be reopening to visitors after a three-year closure caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. But it’s with a catch. The reopening is scheduled for February 1; however, access will be limited initially to a certain, small group. People whose previous […]
5 days ago
White carnations representing each of the 1,746 unborn babies that were aborted in Utah in 2022 are...
Allessandra Harris and Simone Seikaly

Speeches, silence, during Pro-Life Utah memorial at the Capitol

About 100 people including Utah lawmakers and religious leaders attended the memorial on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023.
6 days ago
 A mental health clinic will reopen on Thursday after a carbon monoxide leak sent at least 17 peop...
Michael Locklear

Carbon monoxide poisoning at central Utah clinic hospitalizes 17 people

The Central Utah Counseling Center in Ephraim was evacuated a week ago after a problem with an old furnace was discovered.
7 days ago
a row of guns are pictured...
Mark Jones

KSL at Night: How do we solve gun violence?

KSL at Night hosts Taylor Morgan and Maura Carabello speak with Clark Aposhian, chairman of the Utah Shooting Sports Council about gun violence.
8 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Utah officials urge caution over lowering COVID-19 risk levels