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How many Utahns have recovered from COVID-19? The answer is complicated

By Graham Dudley, | Posted - Apr. 3, 2020 at 6:39 p.m.

SALT LAKE CITY — On Friday, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Utah jumped to 1,246.

It's been just over three weeks since Rudy Gobert's positive test halted the NBA season in its tracks. The coronavirus pandemic has now halted much of the rest of society. Gobert and his teammate Donovan Mitchell have since been cleared, leading many to wonder how many Utahns have recovered from the illness.

On Monday, Utah state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn said it's hard to track that number accurately, as most COVID-19 patients recover at home.

"Over 80% of our cases nationally, and 90% of our cases in this state, recover on their own at home without needing any medical intervention," Dunn said. "But because of that, we don’t have accurate numbers, in terms of actual recovery numbers, because so many people are just recovering on their own — which is fantastic."

Dunn said COVID-19 symptoms could last anywhere from five days to a couple of weeks.

Two weeks ago, on March 20, there were 112 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state. The first person to die of COVID-19 in Utah was not diagnosed until Saturday, March 21, so it's possible that all 112 cases have since recovered from the disease. Many more Utahns have likely seen their symptoms abate since being diagnosed.

The CDC says that diagnosed COVID-19 patients can stop self-isolating if they have not had a fever for three days, other symptoms have improved, and it has been at least seven days since symptoms first appeared. Dunn echoed that advice during her Friday news conference.

"In general, somebody has recovered from the virus once they have been asymptomatic for at least three days and have spent at least seven days in isolation," she said. "That is the national standard for considering somebody recovered from COVID-19."

Seven days ago, there were 480 confirmed cases in Utah.

About 9.6% of Utah's investigated COVID-19 cases have required hospitalization so far, and Dunn said about half of those hospitalized require intensive care. So even among those hospitalized, many have likely been treated and discharged, like Rep. Ben McAdams.

With case counts increasing by hundreds in the past week, though, there are lots of Utahns still feeling the effects of the novel coronavirus.

Graham Dudley

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