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Doctor “cautiously optimistic” Utah COVID-19 cases are plateauing

Dr. Eddie Stenehjem with Intermountain Healthcare speaks during a COVID-19 community update. | Screenshot

SALT LAKE CITY – Could Utah be turning a corner in the fight against COVID-19 and be plateauing? One local doctor thinks so. 

Intermountain Healthcare Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Eddie Stenehjem said during a virtual news conference on Thursday that he’s “cautiously optimistic”  COVID-19 cases in Utah are plateauing.

Stenehjem said the number of cases is going down, especially in one spot. 

“When you look at where we see the biggest impact, [though] we are seeing cases going down throughout Utah, but we’ve seen a really significant decline in Salt Lake County. And less of declines in other hot spots across Utah,” Stenehjem said. 

He believes the mask mandates have played a role in stopping significant spikes. 

“Keep in mind that correlation’s not causation. So, I can’t definitively come out here and say it was absolutely the masks. That being said, nothing else significantly changed during that time period to really cause this decrease,” Stenehjem said. 

Other factors that are helping keep Utah’s case and death counts low are better treatments for COVID-19 and, possibly, the state’s younger than average population. 

Though the number of cases in the 15-24 age range is going up, that is also a population more likely to fight off the virus naturally or have milder cases. 

Still, Stenehjem cautioned that there are plenty of young people in their hospitals with COVID-19. 

He will also be keeping an eye on whether Pioneer Day celebrations caused an increase in cases. 

“If we’re going to see increased case counts due to the Pioneer Day holiday, it’s really going to be starting Friday, Saturday, Sunday into early next week. So, we’ll just have to wait and see,” Stenejem said.   

 

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