Officials watch data closely after going to yellow
By Robert Stevens
It has been just over two weeks since the public health guidelines for COVID-19 were relaxed from orange to yellow (low risk) and the Central Utah Public Health District (CUPHD) is carefully monitoring for any dangerous upticks in positive cases.
“We are constantly looking at that,” CUPHD director, Nate Selin says. “Because the incubation period for the virus is 14 days, and it’s been just over two weeks now since we went to yellow, we are watching to see if any increase in cases is possibly a trend or just an anomaly.”
Sanpete County saw a spike of cases on Thursday, May 28, when its positive case count went from seven to 12 in one day—making it the county with the highest number of positive cases in the district.
Selin says two of those cases came from the same contact point, and the rest all came from separate contact points, and based on the data the CUPHD has, he believes the spike to be an anomaly.
“With the relaxing of guidelines, we expect to see these numbers continue to rise,” Selin says. “They are probably going to go up no matter what, but the important part is watching to make sure it’s not an amount that poses a threat to our local medical system by potentially overloading its capacity.”
Selin says the CUPHD has expanded its testing, including the use of mobile testing teams being dispatched to remote areas.
Limited testing has also begun for high risk locations, such as long term cares facilities, where an outbreak of COVID-19 could be devastating, and it can be vital to confirm a case as early as possible in the incubation period to prevent the spread.
Some testing of asymptomatic individuals has also begun in areas deemed “critical infrastructure,” such as the Intermountain Power Plant, where an outbreak of COVID could potentially cripple the ability to provide important utilities.
The legislators in Utah’s Public Health and Economic Emergency Commission voted on Tuesday to move to the lowest risk level (green), which eliminates many health guidelines in place by the state’s COVID-19 task force and the Utah Department of Health. According to Senate President J. Stuart Adams, R-Layton, a member of the commission, there will still be a continued emphasis on strongly encouraging social distancing, the wearing of face masks and sanitization practices in businesses.
As of Tuesday, the district had 38 positive cases, 31 of which have recovered. A total of 3336 people have been tested.
While Sanpete County leads in cases with 12, Juab is right on its heels with 10. Sevier County has had eight cases, Millard has six and Piute has two. Wayne County remains the only county in the district with no confirmed cases.