HEALTH

One million cases of COVID have now been reported in Utah

Jul 21, 2022, 8:00 PM | Updated: Aug 2, 2022, 12:11 pm
File photo: Intermountain Healthcare

SALT LAKE CITY — One million cases of COVID-19 have now been reported in the state of Utah since the pandemic started more than two years ago, according to Intermountain Healthcare.

“It’s is a huge milestone,” said Dr. Eddie Stenehjem, an infectious diseases physician for Intermountain Healthcare. “Two-and-a-half years ago when we started on this, I didn’t think we’d be sitting here this far along with over a million cases.”

More than one million cases of COVID

Stenehjem says there have been more than a million cases in the state because of the number of home tests being used that aren’t being recorded with the state-base registry. As a result, he says the Utah Department of Heath case counts are undercounted. 

With those undercounts in mind, Stenehjem says measures like COVID-19 in wastewater are becoming more critical.

“We certainly have very significant transmission, evident by, increase COVID in wastewater,” he said. “When we look at test positivity, we see that has gone up dramatically and appears to be stabilizing now. When we look at ED syndromic surveillance, so we are looking at people coming into the emergency department and getting tested for COVID and whether or not they are positive or not. We’ve seen that spike considerably.”

Protecting yourself

Stenehjem says how to best protect yourself depends on your level of risk.

“High-risk individuals, those that are older, those that have significant, compromised and a frail medical condition,” he said. “Those are people that still absolutely need to be careful, regardless of their vaccination status. And for those people wearing a good, well-fitting mask when they’re around people in crowded, indoor areas is absolutely the right call.”

Stenehjem says hospitalizations have increased with this uptick in cases. However, the number of deaths has not. 

Mark Jones contributed to this article.

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