Local health officials: “January is going to be pretty rough”

Jan 7, 2021, 2:00 PM
COVID-19 cases in Utah...
Local health officials are predicting that coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in Utah will surge throughout January. (Photo: University of Maryland School of Medicine via AP, File)
(Photo: University of Maryland School of Medicine via AP, File)

SALT LAKE CITY — Local health officials are predicting coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in Utah will surge throughout the month of January.

Anticipating a rough January

The bleak outlook comes after the state health department reported over 3,700 new coronavirus cases Wednesday and then 4,597 additional cases Thursday.

Additionally, 537 people are currently hospitalized with the coronavirus, as statewide ICU capacity approaches 90%.

In a recent press conference, Dr. Eddie Stenehjem with Intermountain Healthcare explained this is the onset of a “holiday spike” that health officials have been forecasting.

“We’re seeing patients in the hospital presenting stories of, ‘Yeah, I had a holiday gathering, a couple days later someone got sick,'” he explains. “It’s those high risk individuals that we’re seeing now turn positive from exposure at the holidays and now requiring hospitalizations.”

He said if this is indeed the relative beginning of a “holiday spike,” then a surge of cases and hospitalizations can be expected for at least a week or so.

“We anticipate that the month of January is going to be pretty rough,” he said.

Controlling the future

The good news is that the statewide outlook beyond that point is still in our control.

“How long we see [cases] rise is really dependent on what people do and revert back to after the new year,” Dr. Stenehjem said.

Even though the statewide vaccine rollout is starting to gather momentum, health officials say it won’t be enough to get cases under control. Beyond receiving the vaccine, Utahns will need to stay steadfast with social distancing and mask wearing. 

“The year has changed, but the message hasn’t changed,” said Todd Vento with Intermountain Healthcare on Monday. “You need to still wear a mask and must continue to practice good mitigation and preventative practices to reduce community spread. This is as vital as ever.”

We want to hear from you.

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

Today’s Top Stories


Utah Roadkill Reporter is a new app helping reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions. Available on Google...
Devin Oldroyd

DWR and UDOT introducing new app Utah Roadkill Reporter

Utah Roadkill Reporter is a new app helping reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions. Available on Google Play and the App store now.
1 day ago
Cleanup of a large oil spill continued Thursday on northbound I-15 near Bluffdale, Utah. The oil or...
Aimee Schaeffer and Simone Seikaly

Multiple factors combined to stop NB-15 traffic overnight, lanes back open

An hours-long delay on northbound I-15 began with a jackknifed Amazon truck and thousands of oil spilled onto the freeway.
1 day ago
Three wildlife officers on board a state helicopter were uninjured when the helicopter crashed on L...
Simone Seikaly

Natural Resources helicopter crashes in San Juan County, no injuries

The San Juan County Sheriff's Office was alerted to the crash by a witness who saw a metallic blue helicopter go down in the La Sal Mountains.
1 day ago
county library...
Elizabeth Weiler

Members of the council explain the Salt Lake County library tax

SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake County Council is approving a budget that includes a property tax increase for the Salt Lake County library system.  The Salt Lake County Library is funded through property taxes paid by Salt Lake County residents. Over 60% of people have library cards according to Salt Lake County government.  […]
1 day ago
Real estate agents are being scammed in Utah on the housing app Zillow....
Hugo Rikard-Bell and Aimee Cobabe

Real estate agents, along with Utah residents, being scammed on Zillow

Utah officials say there are ten different cases of vacant lots or parcel listings fraudulently offered on Zillow.
1 day ago
The crash happened overnight and resulted in an I-15 closure through Thursday morning Dec. 8 2022. ...
Amie Schaeffer

Update: Some I-15 lanes reopen after hazmat spill in Bluffdale

A crash early Thursday morning closed I-15 northbound near Bluffdale. The accident involved multiple vehicles and resulted in a hazmat spill.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

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...

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...

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...

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.
Local health officials: “January is going to be pretty rough”