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Health analysts see big spike in COVID-19 cases in northern Utah

(Kristin Murphy, KSL)

LOGAN – The rising number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in northern Utah has health officials very worried about how the disease may spread in the near future.  They believe too many people are socializing when it’s still not safe to do so.

Officials with the Bear River Health Department say the number of cases started spiking May 28th.  They say they saw a huge increase in the number of people wanted testing.  Plus, there were 41 new positive cases that day, which is a huge jump from what they were seeing just days prior.

(Bear River Health Department)

Department Spokesman Joshua Greer says the testing center in Cache Valley is especially busy.

“We’re constantly getting told that we’ve got a two to three hour wait in their drive-up line to get tested,” Greer says.

Greer says they’ve averaged around over 40 new cases just over the past three days.  Health officials knew they would see an increase in cases when the state moved from a “moderate risk” level to a “low risk” level, but he says too many people aren’t taking the proper safety precautions that they used to.

He says, “Some people have taken this move to yellow and really just started throwing caution to the wind.  We’re seeing bigger groups of people socialize and more people out and about.”

Analysts say it’s far too early to know if Saturday’s violent protest in Salt Lake City has affected public health, but officials with the Utah Department of Health say it’s something they will keep a close watch over.  Spokesman Tom Hudachko says anyone who was exposed to the virus on Saturday could possibly start to feel symptoms by the following Thursday.

“The optimal time for somebody to be tested in terms of ensuring that you get a good, solid result is going to be about seven to ten days after you have been exposed,” Hudachko says.

Despite concern over possible virus spread, Hudachko says they’re still not recommending that people without symptoms be tested simply because they attended the protest.  He says asymptomatic testing is normally reserved for people who were exposed to a known outbreak. 

He says, “As we identify positive cases, we will go through the regular contact tracing process that we go through.”

However, if anyone feels symptoms, Hudachko says they should get tested immediately then isolate themselves until the results come back.