SALT LAKE CITY — The numbers we get every day on new cases, hospitalizations and deaths tell only part of the story of the COVID-19 pandemic in Utah. The dashboard maintained by the Utah Department of Health allows a deeper look into the data.
Utah has seen higher case numbers this summer. And those trends over time provide perspective, as state epidemiologist Angela Dunn told KSL Newsradio’s Dave and Dujanovic.
“It is a higher plateau, with cases around 500 to 550 per day, but it is a good sign to see that plateau and we need to see that decrease,” Dunn said.
Utah dashboard helps analyze
A dashboard available at coronavirus.utah.gov helps analyze what those daily case numbers mean. For example, Doctor Sankar Swaminathan, head of University Healthcare’s infectious disease program, says the numbers show it’s not just older people going to the hospital with COVID-19.
“[Between ages] 65 to 84, there were 403 patients hospitalized. [Between ages] 45 to 64, 642. [Between ages] 25 to 44, 399. So you can see that the number of people who end up in the hospital is the same for age 25 to 44 as 65 to 84,” Swaminathan explained.
The ethnic breakdown of the outbreak is another story. Latino Utahns make up 14% of the state’s population – but 43% of all the cases. The health department is providing educational materials in Spanish, but State Senator Luz Escamilla says there’s no substitute for talking with somebody you know and trust.
“Right now, we need to use the organizations that already have trust relationships with those communities to go and tell them what to do, to bring them resources to make sure that housing and food security are being addressed immediately so that people can isolate and not get other people sick,” Escamilla said.
And the numbers will tell us when we’re finally coming through the worst of it. Doctor Swaminathan says, “Two weeks of decreasing or stable cases, which we haven’t seen. Never really saw when we relaxed restrictions. We need to see decreasing percent positive of our tests – less than five percent positive, while keeping the number of tests the same or increasing.”
Doctor Dunn says individuals taking responsibility will get us there.
She told Dave and Dujanovic, “People out in Utah are taking responsibility of physical distancing and wearing face masks, so it’s working.
“What we’re urging the public to do is continue these efforts so that we do see a decline and we all feel comfortable sending our kids to school in the fall,”
How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19Coronavirus
COVID-19 coronavirus is transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:
- Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
- Don’t touch your face.
- Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
- If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
- Get a flu shot.
Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707
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