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Health officials say rising COVID-19 cases show more testing is needed

File Photo: A long line line of cars waiting for COVID-19 testing in the parking lot across the street from the UDOH main offices. Photo credit: Paul Nelson, August 30, 2021

SALT LAKE CITY — If you’ve been feeling sick, lately, state health officials encourage you to be tested for COVID-19, even if you’re pretty sure you don’t have it.  They said the rising COVID-19 infection rates in both kids and adults have them worried. 

Even though COVID-19 cases among children aren’t nearly as high as they were in December and January, health officials said they have good reasons to be concerned about the current rising COVID-19 juvenile cases. Utah Department of Health Spokesperson Charla Haley says educators had more tools at their disposal to deal with the pandemic at the beginning of the year.

Related: COVID-19 in Utah: 3 day new-case count totals 3,329

“We used masking and social distancing and [students] were doing school from home,” Haley said.

Now, only two school districts across the state have a mask mandate for students. And educators in one of those district said a child likely won’t be disciplined if they refuse to wear one.

Over the weekend, health officials report 715 kids tested positive for COVID-19.

Haley said the blame rests with the delta variant.  She said not only is it infecting more people, but it’s causing more severe symptoms that last longer than previous strains.

“We are seeing some longer-lasting symptoms that people have a harder time getting rid of, completely,” according to Haley.

Related: Utah Department of Health releases COVID-19 recommendations for schools

That’s why state health officials are asking anyone who feels any symptoms at all, even mild ones, to get tested.  Haley said even if you’re certain you don’t have COVID-19 because you’re not feeling the commonly known symptoms, you should be tested, anyway.

“You can’t tell just by the symptoms that you have,” Haley said. 

“The sooner you find out if you’re positive, the sooner you can ‘take yourself out’ of society, so to speak, so that you can protect yourself from spreading it to others, which is where the big concern is.”

 


How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus spreads person to person, 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.
  • Wear a mask to protect yourself and others per CDC recommendations.
  • 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 

Utah State 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