Jeffrey D. Allred, KSL, File

Doctors worry as Utah hits 4th highest rate of new COVID-19 cases in US

By Jed Boal, KSL TV | Posted - Jan. 11, 2021 at 9:45 p.m.



MURRAY — Utah is experiencing one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the country with the fourth-highest rate of new cases, according to state health data.

A doctor at Intermountain Healthcare said Utah is still seeing the results of the holiday surge.

"We are at highest risk now of getting COVID, higher than we have ever been before," said Dr. Todd Vento, infectious disease physician at Intermountain Healthcare. "Therefore, we've got to make a commitment to finish this race."

Currently, the virus is as infectious in the Beehive State as it has ever been, Vento said, regardless of the precautions Utahns have already been taking. That's why he said we need to double down against complacency and pandemic fatigue.

"Our conclusion from that would be that's the right timing for a post-holiday surge," Vento said.

If you get together with different people every day and don't wear a mask indoors in unventilated areas, he said, your risk is even higher.

With a rolling average of 3,100 new cases a day and a positivity rate over 30%, Utah had the fourth-highest rate of new cases in the nation Monday. The number of cases per population has nearly doubled in the last 10 days.

"The next few weeks will be even more concerning because we haven't seen all of the hospitalizations from this case surge," Vento said.

The CDC now believes 60% of COVID-19 transmission is occurring from people with no symptoms.

"So even more so an issue when you think about gathering say over one week, two weeks over the holidays, through the New Year's holiday," said Vento.

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The doctor said we won't begin to see the positive impact from the vaccine on our case numbers for months.

"It likely will get worse in terms of numbers," said Vento. "So, even more important that we have everyone recommit in 2021 to doing the preventive public health measures that work."

So, he encouraged everyone to make those practices part of a New Year's resolution.

"So, if you're leaving the house, and you're putting on clothes, you've got to think that you're naked if you don't have a mask on."

Masking up, social distancing, and limiting gatherings with people who don't live in our homes are as important as ever right now," he said.


So, if you're leaving the house, and you're putting on clothes, you've got to think that you're naked if you don't have a mask on.

–Dr. Todd Vento, infectious disease physician at Intermountain Healthcare


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Jed Boal

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