ALL NEWS

Doctor: Utah’s COVID-19 infection rate is a concern, hospitalizations stabilize

Sep 17, 2020, 11:15 AM
Utah's infection rate...
Infectious disease physician, Dr. Stenehjem on a Facebook Live

SALT LAKE CITY–An infectious disease physician at Intermountain Healthcare says people should be worried about Utah’s COVID-19 infection rate even though death and hospitalization rates continue to decline. 

During a Facebook Live on Thursday, Dr. Eddie Stenehjem addressed the potential harms of not following health guidelines to combat the coronavirus. 

“We’re not doing great,” Dr. Stenehjem said in response to the most current COVID-19 data. “We are definitively trending up.  We are now reaching total daily case counts that are rivaling our peak we had in July.” 

 

Utah’s infection rate spike  

Dr. Stenehjem says the uptick in cases is primarily among people between the ages of 14-24. A lot of those cases are coming from Utah County, says Stenehjem, which has twice the rate of infection compared to Salt Lake County. 

While the majority of the cases in Utah County are isolated within a younger population, the 18% positive case rate is a cause for concern, according to Stenehjem. 

 “It [infection rate] shows increase community transmissions is most likely,” said Stenehjem, because Utah hasn’t seen a significant decrease in COVID-19 testing.  

It’s no secret teens and young adults are less likely to fall critically ill from the virus. However, older populations are. 

The biggest concern to Stenehjem is the transmission of COVID-19 from the younger demographic to parents and grandparents. 

“We’re starting to get the sense that this [community transmission] is already happening with the increase in cases,” said Stenehjem.

Additionally, Stenehjem noted another reason why COVID-19 is spreading in Utah County. “Less than 50% of the people I encountered weren’t wearing masks,” Stenehjem said. And because of that, Stenehjem says “it’s [coronavirus] going to spread more and more throughout the community.” 

COVID-19 hospitalizations stabilize 

Despite the jump in cases, COVID-19 hospitalizations have been on a downward trend.

“Hospitalizations are relatively stable,” said Stenehjem. “We are essentially flat, now.” But Stenehjem worries all of that could change if Utah’s infection rate continues to climb.  

Stenehjem attributes schools reopening for the coronavirus increase. He specifically points to college campuses and high schools in Utah. Riverton High School closed Thursday due to more than a dozen coronavirus cases. Corner Canyon High School in Draper moved to a split schedule to reduce the spread after similar numbers.

No college in Utah has closed because of the virus, but Stenehjem notes the problem on campus won’t get better if it’s not addressed. 

“We really have to think hard about what we are going to do on these college campuses to downward the trend,” explained Stenehjem. 

If the problem isn’t addressed, Stenehjem predicts a spike in hospital admittance. “The hospitalizations increase will probably come 2-3 weeks from now,” said Stenehjem. “We will probably start to see an uptick of infection among older groups.” 

Sick kids and the flu 

His biggest piece of advice to parents and young adults is staying home when someone shows flu or coronavirus symptoms. 

“Kids with a cough or sniffle cannot go to school and need to get tested,” Stenehjem emphasized. He says respiratory infections are only going to increase as we head into the fall and winter seasons. 

Even if you think you have the flu, you have to get tested for COVID-19, Stenehjem advised. According to Stenehjem, the illnesses both carry similar symptoms and are impossible to distinguish without a test. 

“We cannot have our hospitals full of people with severe influenza,” said Stenehjem. He says hospitals need all the resources and space for COVID-19 patients. 

Today’s Top Stories

All News

Frontier Airlines...
Ramishah Maruf, CNN

Frontier Airlines no longer has a customer service phone line

Customers who need flight information or want to make changes to travel plans can no longer call Frontier Airlines and speak to an agent, the company confirmed to CNN Saturday.
1 day ago
On Saturday, two German soccer fans told CNN that they were asked by security officials at Qatar 20...
Ben Church, CNN

World Cup: Soccer fans stopped by security officials for wearing rainbow-colored items as LGBTQ+ rights issue won’t go away at Qatar 2022

The World Cup is well underway in Qatar, but issues surrounding LGBTQ+ rights for the Gulf state won't go away.
1 day ago
Mountain Green Fire Protection District said neighbors reported a burning trash can next to a home ...
Waverly Golden

Trash can on fire at home in the Cottonwoods, safely extinguished

Mountain Green Fire Protection District said neighbors reported a burning trash can next to a home in the Cottonwoods on Nov. 25. 
1 day ago
The U.S. Coast Guard ship Bernard C. Webber, leaves the coast guard base, Monday, July 19, 2021, in...
Associated Press

‘Miracle’: Missing cruise ship passenger found OK in water

The U.S. Coast Guard says a passenger who went overboard from a cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico was rescued on Thanksgiving after likely being in the water for hours.
1 day ago
Image of the fatal crash in Draper on 11/25/22 (Photo courtesy of Utah DPS)...
Chandler Holt

Crash on I-15 in Draper leaves one dead

A Jeep and Toyota Tundra were involved in a crash late Friday night in Draper. The two vehicles were traveling in adjacent lanes on I-15 near 14100 South.
1 day ago
Bodycam video released by authorities shows the good Samaritan trying to help the man on the tracks...
Tavleen Tarrant, CNN

Good Samaritan and NYPD officers rescue man from subway tracks moments before train arrives

A man was rescued from the New York subway tracks by good Samaritan and police just moments before a track arrived.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

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
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
Doctor: Utah’s COVID-19 infection rate is a concern, hospitalizations stabilize