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The executive director of the Salt Lake County Health Department concerned about upcoming school year as COVID-19 cases trend up

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Salt Lake City, Utah — According to Dr. Angela Dunn, the executive director of the Salt Lake County Health Department, serious measures including social distancing, ventilation, hygiene stations, limited occupancy in classrooms, restricted group gatherings, and masks, must be taken to stem COVID-19 transmission in classrooms.

“It’s not going to be a free for all. It’s a layered approach that needs to happen and masks should be part of that especially for kids who can’t get vaccinated,” Dunn said.

Dr. Dunn warns that letting the virus run through schools and communities will have severe consequences.

According to data from the Salt Lake County Health Department, 7 children under the age of 12 in the county were hospitalized due to COVID-19 in July. That is of a total of 58 Salt Lake County children under 12 who have been hospitalized since the start of the pandemic.

The state has recorded weeks of sharp increase in COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and deaths. According to the University of Utah Hospital, there are as many patients hospitalized with COVID-19 as there were in May.

According to Dr. Dunn, caring for children who have complications from COVID-19 could become a serious issue.

“All of our hospitals in our county are at capacity or over capacity, we can’t find ICU beds for adults, and keep in mind we have 1 hospital that can provide high-level care for children,” Dunn said. “Which child are you going to choose to hospitalize every other day and that’s what we’re up against.”

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