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Utah is up 56 COVID-19 cases since Wednesday; officials expect numbers to climb for ‘several months’



SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, March 26, 2020  — Utah has 56 new documented cases of COVID-19 since Wednesday, and increase of 16 percent from the previous number of 346 cases.

That’s a lesser jump than some days, Dr. Angela Dunn told reporters gathered for the daily COVID-19 news conference, but she urged listeners not to read too much into that fact.

“It is a good sign, but with 14-day incubation period, don’t put too much stock in it,” Dunn said. “We still need to wait those 14 days to determine how the trend is really looking, because we’re just now finding cases that have been infected about wo weeks ago, so time will tell, but it is a good sign that we are seeing a decrease an not an exponential increase.”

The current number now stands at 402 coronavirus cases known to state officials. The number of people known to have been tested in Utah is now 7,710, up from 6837 from Wednesday. The number of deaths in Utah due to COVID-19 has held steady at one.

“The number of cases that are currently in the community is lower than what is reported because this has been going on for so many weeks, and most people recover within a two-week time frame,” Dunn said.

Idaho and Colorado both issued stay-at-home orders on Wednesday. Utah’s Summit County also declared the stay at home order earlier on Wednesday, and asked tourists, one of the mainstays of its economy, to go home and stay away for the time being.

Dunn said elected officials are not currently planning such an order for the state of Utah, but discussion of what is best under changing circumstances is an ongoing process.

“Right now, again, just like yesterday, we are consistently working with our local health officers, as well as local and state elected officials to officials to determine best course forward for Utah, given our case count. So those discussions take place daily, and at this point, we don’t have any plans for firm recommendations… right now, they (elected officials ) do not have plans in place.”

Asked about keeping track of recovery numbers, Dunn said about 90 percent of the COVID-19 infected recover at home without medical intervention. Efforts, she said, are “focusing attention active cases that can spread covid 19 ot others in the community and ensuring that they self-quarantine.”

Utah’s number of cases is lower than that of some states, Dunn said, possibily due to the lower average age of our population. Older patients are more likely to suffer severe consequences of COVID-19 infection, she said.

“We still hold steady at about 10% of our cases needing hospitalization, and of those who are hospitalized, about half of them are requiring ICU care.”

Asked about how long social distancing may need to continue, Dunn said that is not known.

“You know, for any novel pandemic, it’s hard to predict, but what do do know from past pandemics and epidemics, that this upward trend of cases can last a few months, so that is what we’re preparing for. We are doing our best to try to shorten that as much as possible, but we are preparing for several months.”

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