CORONAVIRUS

Utah’s Rate Of Positive COVID-19 Tests Has Doctors Concerned

Jan 4, 2021, 8:48 PM | Updated: 8:50 pm

MURRAY, Utah – Doctors don’t yet know whether Utah will experience a surge in COVID-19 cases after the December holidays, but the state’s positivity rate for testing remains one of the highest in the nation.

Utah has the ninth highest COVID-19 positivity rate in the country at nearly 30%, which Dr. Todd Vento, an infectious disease doctor at Intermountain Healthcare, called very high during a video briefing with reporters Monday.

“We haven’t really seen the effects of what’s happening for the Christmas holiday, the New Year’s holiday, at this time. We would expect to see that in the next few weeks,” Vento said.

He added the positivity rate told him community transmission is still very high, there is a lot of infection in the community that they are not catching, and we will continue to see high case counts that lead to hospitalizations.

After each long holiday weekend during the pandemic, Utah saw a rise in COVID-19 cases. Following the longer Christmas and New Year’s holidays, Vento expects to see a similar rise, although the rise in cases after Thanksgiving was much smaller than health officials expected.

The positivity rate here, he said, and across the country is still way above any level that would indicate control of the virus.

“If you’re still having percent positivity in the 30% range, that’s very high,” said Vento. “Remember, the WHO and the CDC had put out trying to get it below 5% — that shows excellent control.”

Vento pointed out that it has been many months since any state has had a positivity rate as low as 5%. Vento said they’ll be tracking the rolling averages of cases and positivity rate over the next couple of weeks to see what they show about our behavior during the last few weeks.

That high positivity rate likely means we will see another rise in cases.

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  • 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 is not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

Information on vaccine safety and getting a vaccine can be found here.

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Utah’s Rate Of Positive COVID-19 Tests Has Doctors Concerned