Utah Department of Health reported on Thursday that the state has recorded an additional 1,543 cases of coronavirus infections. This brings the total number of known cases in the state to almost 100,000 after 1,000,000 residents have taken the coronavirus test.
Dr. Angela Dunn, an epidemiologist in the state, has expressed frustrations over the development, stating that she doesn’t know what to do anymore. She said that residents need to take responsibility so as to halt the increasing rate of infection in the state.
Gov. Gary Herbert of Utah has said that when it comes to playing their role in reducing the spread of the virus, not everyone is responding positively. He said that pending the time that a vaccine will be available, all that can be done is to find ways to reduce the risk of contracting the virus.
On Thursday, Herbert told PBS Utah during his usual monthly news conference, that the rising figures seem like breaking a record. Together with other persons who spoke at the conference, Herbert pleaded with Utah residents to play their role and do the right things required to stop the spread of coronavirus in the state.
There are indications by the new COVID-19 Transmission Index in Utah, that 16 counties have acquired a high transmission status as of Thursday. This signifies an increased risk of contracting the virus in those areas. They include Cache, Box Elder, Millard, Carbon, Weber, Beaver, Wasatch, and Utah counties. Others are Emery, Juab, Washington, Salt Lake, Tooele, Sevier, Morgan, Garfield, Davis, Summit, San Juan, Sanpete, and Grand counties.
While Daggett, Rich, Wayne Kane, and Piute counties still maintain low levels of transmission, Uintah, Iron, and Duchesne counties have average transmission levels. Apart from counties having low transmission levels that are allowed to have gathering sizes of as much as 25 persons, tougher restrictions are expected for counties with high and moderate transmission levels, and these include limiting the number of persons per gathering to less than 10 until October 29.
Rich Saunders, interim executive director of the State Health Department, said that irrespective of transmission levels, masks must be worn in all counties. He added that caution should be exercised even though there is a need for people to continue living a fulfilled life. He stressed that persons who are over 65, as well as those having any underlying health condition, must be extra cautious.
Reports show that 301 persons are hospitalized as a result of coronavirus infection in Utah. They occupy 20% of the beds in intensive care units across the state’s hospitals. This brings ICUs in the state to perform at 73.9% capacity at the moment, a situation that stretches hospital staff and requires the transfer of patients who have less critical needs.
So far, the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Utah since mid-March is 73,586. Out of these, a total of 563 lives have been lost as a result of the pandemic.