Coronavirus Model Predicts Peak Week For Deaths, Hospitalizations In Utah
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – This could be the peak week for COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations in Utah, according to the latest estimation models from the University of Washington.
State epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn said she was hopeful, but not confident in the prediction. Dunn was confident Utah’s health care systems can handle a surge in patients.
Projections from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation have changed several times during the past month, as new data has been entered. The latest projections showed the state will hit peak deaths on Saturday, and peak hospitalizations on Friday.
“(There are) lots of models out there,” Dr. Dunn said. “They are all inaccurate. Some are very helpful.”
She said if Utah peaked in COVID-19 deaths this week and started to see a decrease, that would be a good thing, but it’s too early to read that trend in state data.
“There are signs we are starting to flatten the curve, which would be a good sign with mortality, as well,” set Dr. Dunn. “However, we are preparing that in case we continuously see an increase.”
Three weeks ago, the model projected 18 deaths in Utah for 5 straight days at the peak. The same model predicted six deaths on Monday, with a peak of seven deaths each day starting Wednesday and lasting through early next week.
The model also predicted peak hospitalizations of 331 state wide on Friday. Fortunately, the Utah Department of Health reported only one death Monday, for a total of 28 so far – much smaller than the model originally predicted.
“We do see some good signs,” Dr. Dunn said. “However, we are going to continuously watch it for the next week or so before we can have any confidence in the true trends that we’re seeing.”
The IHME model has been based upon the assumption that social distancing would continue until infections start to minimize. As of Monday, the infection rate remained high and steady.
“We are very fortunate in Utah that all of our healthcare systems are prepared for a surge in patients due to COVID-19,” said Dr. Dunn.
Officials said stopping elective surgeries early in the outbreak enabled Utah hospitals to conserve their personal protective equipment and beds for those who might need it with the coronavirus outbreak.
“We’re definitely prepared in this state for that,” Dunn said.
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How Do I Prevent It?
The CDC has some simple recommendations, most of which are the same for preventing other respiratory illnesses or the flu:
- Avoid close contact with people who may be sick
- Avoid touching your face
- Stay home when you are sick
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
How To Get Help
If you’re worried you may have COVID-19, you can contact the Utah Coronavirus Information Line at 1-800-456-7707 to speak to trained healthcare professionals. You can also use telehealth services through your healthcare providers.
If you see evidence of PRICE GOUGING, the Utah Attorney General’s Office wants you to report it. Common items in question include toilet paper, water, hand sanitizer, certain household cleaners, and even cold medicine and baby formula. Authorities are asking anyone who sees price gouging to report it to the Utah Division of Consumer Protection at 801-530-6601 or 800-721-7233. The division can also be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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