Dave & Dujanovic: Utah’s seeing a COVID-19 plateau

Jul 7, 2020, 6:26 PM
Utah COVID-19 cases plateau...
Utah Department of Health epidemiologist Angela Dunn speaking at a daily press briefing about COVID-19.

SALT LAKE CITY — The number of cases of COVID-19 is starting to plateau in Utah, and that pleases the state’s top coronavirus doctor. But the autumn season draws ever closer, and with it, flu season and perhaps a second wave of the virus.

Utah Department of Health epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn joined Dave Noriega and Debbie Dujanovic to discuss how the state is doing with its battle against the coronavirus.

“You set a deadline in a memo to state leaders to get down to 200 cases [per day] by July 1 or we need to go back to ‘orange.’ Well, we’re a week past that deadline and [cases are] still spiking. Do we need to go back to ‘orange?'” Dave asked.

“We clearly have not met that mark,” Dunn said. “The good news is we are starting to see a plateau. It is a higher plateau with cases around 500 to 550 per day. But it is a good sign to see that plateau. We need to start seeing that decrease. And we know how to do it. We do it by wearing a face covering when we’re out in public, staying home when we’re sick and practicing physical distancing when possible.”

You are part of the solution

“What’s your plan for getting us out of this pandemic?” Debbie asked.

Dunn said the plan is to continue contact tracing, testing everyone who needs a test, wearing face coverings and physical distancing. 

“Do you support mandating masks?” Dave asked.

“That is definitely a governor decision, and he has a strong favor toward local control,” Dunn said. “But he’s been really strong and both his messaging regarding masks and also as a strong personal example. He wears a mask himself, and I think we should all take that personal responsibility to help curb this epidemic.

“We are all part of the solution, and I think that’s a good thing. As individuals can save lives by wearing face coverings out in public,” she said. “. . . We should take pride in that and do it as a matter of protecting our loved ones in our community.”

Are kids safe going back to school?

Debbie mentioned that the Jordan School District approved its plan to bring students back to class in the fall. They will be in school Mondays through Thursdays and will give the school a deep cleaning on Fridays.

“Is that a good enough plan because I’m not even hearing that facemasks will be required or enforced in some of these schools? Are the plans you hear about going far enough to protect our children?” Debbie asked.

Dunn said school districts and the State Board of Education have engaged with infectious-disease experts in their planning. She added that bringing kids back to school is so important for the students and for the economy.

“We need parents to get out there and be able to go back to work as well,” Dunn said.

“Are you comfortable sending your kids to schools?” Dave asked.

“Yeah, absolutely. I’ve been in touch with my kids’ school, and they have a plan in place to protect the kids, the staff and the teachers,” Dunn said, adding that her younger child has been going to daycare throughout the pandemic and that she is confident in the precautions taken to protect the children there.

“This is not the time to send your kid to school with a mild cough or a runny nose,” she said. “Stay home with your kid if they have any mild illness at all.”

Dunn emphasized that it’s important to educate the teachers on what symptoms of illness to look for in students and others.

Pleased with the COVID-19 plateau

Debbie asked if a spike in cases is expected after the July 4th holiday.

Dunn said the state saw a surge in cases after the Memorial Day holiday but she hoped that the public heeded the warning issued before July 4th about wearing facemasks and avoiding public gatherings so another spike doesn’t occur.

“We knew once we started opening things up that cases would spike. I’m sure you were prepared for that. Did it spike even more than you were expecting or does this fall within the models you had planned for?” Dave asked. 

“The thing about models is they’re all wrong, and some are useful,” Dunn said. “We are very pleased with the [COVID-19] plateau that we are seeing right now. And that means people out in Utah are taking responsibility [for] physical distancing and wearing facemasks, so it’s working. What we’re urging the public to do is continue these efforts.”

Despite the COVID-19 plateau, this virus is new

Debbie said she read on KSL Sports that Jazz center Rudy Gobert still hasn’t regained his sense of smell after his bout with COVID-19 which began on March 11.

“How long are these symptoms lingering?” Debbie asked.

Dunn said some patients have lost their sense of taste and smell for several months. 

“But what we do know is that symptom does not means they’re infectious,” she said.

“Can you give us any idea of what you’re preparing for with a [possible] second wave [of the coronavirus]?” Dave asked.

Dunn said COVID-19 is a new virus “so we don’t know what to expect.” She said a decline in cases was anticipated during the summertime.

“But here we are in July and seeing our biggest peaks in Utah,” Dunn said. 

She said scientists, physicians and public health officials are concerned about coronavirus resurging in the fall and spreading more rapidly during flu season when hospitals are already strained with patients.

“Everybody needs to get a flu shot if they’re able to get one,” Dunn stressed.

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, a.s well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play

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

Today’s Top Stories

Dave & Dujanovic

FILE - This Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, file photo shows application icons from left, Facebook, Facebook...
Curt Gresseth

Expert gives tips on conquering your downward social media scroll

Are you addicted to the social-media scroll? An expert weighs in on what you can do to slow the scroll.
6 days ago
High water in the Gardiner River along the North Entrance to Yellowstone National Park in Montana, ...
Curt Gresseth

Be ready for flash flooding: Expert shares advice

An expert with the Utah Division of Emergency Management shares his expertise and crucial tips on how to be ready for flash flooding when you are in a vehicle or at home.
7 days ago
salt lake mayorMendenhall guns...
Curt Gresseth

After NY law is struck down, two Utah experts sound off on gun rights

Two advocates on either side of the gun-control vs. gun rights debate sound off on the Supreme Court's 6-3 ruling to expand the right to carry a firearm in public.
12 days ago
Salt Lake County Search and Rescue safely rescued a hiker  out of the Lisa Falls trail on Friday.
Curt Gresseth

Search and rescue expert has tips for hikers

Before you head out on your hike, take someone with you, tell somebody where you are going and when you plan to return. Those are just a few words for hikers from an expert on search and rescue.
13 days ago
A fire engine is seen as the Sheep fire burns in Wrightwood, Calif., Monday, June 13, 2022. (AP Pho...
Curt Gresseth

Be Ready Utah: What to do when wildfires close in on your home

Will you be ready if wildfires close in on your home? A survivor of a wildfire shares his experience and an expert shares tips and advice.
14 days ago
(Photo Credit: CNN/Shutterstock)...
Curt Gresseth

What is behind rising credit-card debt? Financial expert weighs in.

A national expert explains the sudden rise in credit-card debt in April and what you can do to lower your monthly payments.
20 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
Dave & Dujanovic: Utah’s seeing a COVID-19 plateau