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COVID-19 Spike Taxing Smaller Communities In Northern Utah

LOGAN, Utah – Health officials and medical workers have struggled to keep up with the surge in COVID-19 patients in the smaller communities of northern Utah, just weeks after reporting low infection rates.

Officials with the Bear River Health Department said they’re being stretched thin and need help from everyone. With the Thanksgiving holiday approaching, it was not time to let their guard down.

Epidemiologist Caleb Harrison said it wasn’t just the larger cities, like Logan, that were struggling.

Box Elder County reported a higher infection rate per capita than Cache County, and they were in the low infection category not that long ago.

“The past week, we’ve seen on average about 177 new cases come in each day,” said Harrison.

He said those are high numbers for the northern tip of Utah.

“Really in the past two months, we’ve started to see that exponential growth that stayed pretty constant,” Harrison said.

Cases at Utah State University represented a chunk of that, he said, and so far, the recent “Halloween Catastrophe 5” dance party has had 16 cases tied back to it. However, Harrison said the spread was happening all over.

“What we’ve seen, is that the number of cases that are due to social transmission,” Harrison said. “So someone reports that they were in contact with a friend, or someone that was in their social circle who tested positive.”

That spread often then continues within households. The increase in spread means health departments have to get creative to keep up.

“Just today, we trained all of our staff on contact tracing,” Harrison said.

While their whole staff was stepping up, officials asked everyone else to again, social distance, mask up and minimize interactions with people outside of their household.

Harrison said they’ve been hearing from a lot of event organizers who have recently canceled.

The promoter of that Halloween party has announced another one in January at the same venue. He did not respond to KSL’s attempts to reach out.

The owner of the venue, Castle Manor, however, said that no final plans have been made due to current conditions. The statement read in full:

In regards to the catastrophe dance held at our venue. We were not the host for this event, but as the venue, we ensured that the city permit was obtained and the health department was given a copy of the event management template. The hosts required masks and constantly reminded any guests who had chosen to remove their mask, to replace them and wear them properly. 

In regards to a future event, no final plans have been made based on the current status of COVID cases in Cache County. 

KSL 5 TV Live

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