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Doctors urge people to stay mindful of COVID-19 precautions over spring break in Utah

MURRAY – Health care officials say they don’t want spring break to ruin the progress Utah is seeing in the fight against COVID-19.  They’re urging everyone to be careful while the tourists come to the state.

Even though the number of new COVID-19 is on the rise in other states, doctors with Intermountain Healthcare say they’re very encouraged by the trends they’re seeing in Utah.  The Utah Department of Health reports 453 new cases on Friday, which brings the rolling seven-day average to 418.  Chief Physician Mark Briesacher says he’s especially encouraged with the daily positivity rate, which also continues to fall.

However, he says, “While there has been tremendous improvement from those really tough days in January, still, 400 new cases a day or 500, maybe 200 over the weekend, that still represents a lot of new cases.”

Briesacher also says the COVID-19 variants, including the Brazilian variant recently found in Utah, are more infectious than the original strain of the virus.  He says the viral spread in Brazil is a perfect example of what we don’t want to see, here.

“That’s the example of things not going well,” he says.

Briesacher isn’t necessarily predicting a spike in COVID-19 cases due to spring break, but he says it’s possible.  Although he doesn’t expect to see the same kind of behavior in Utah that’s causing problems, elsewhere.

“We all saw the pictures from the beaches in Florida.  I know we’re not going to be like that, but there is risk, as there was around the Thanksgiving holiday,” he says.

He’s urging everyone to continue doing the things that keep viral spread down, like wearing masks and staying distant.

“Maybe, choose things that are more ‘outdoors’ in orientation.  Head south, go camping, stay in groups that are still small,” Briesacher says.

 

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