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Northern Utah counties asked to mask up as COVID-19 cases rise

LOGAN, Utah – The Bear River Health Department is asking people across northern Utah to wear a mask and social distance as COVID-19 cases spike in Box Elder, Cache, and Rich counties. 

Department epidemiologist Caleb Harrison told KSL-TV they’re being stretched thin trying to keep up with the rising number of positive tests. 

And it’s not just the large cities. Small towns across northern Utah are feeling the strain of COVID-19, too. 

Box Elder County is reporting a higher infection rate than Cache County, which is home to Utah State University. 

“The past week, we’ve seen on average about 177 new cases come in each day,” Harrison said. 

He said the exponential growth in COVID-19 positive test results has been pretty steady for months.

How are people getting infected? Harrison believes people are letting their guard down during social gatherings or at home. 

“What we’ve seen is that the number of cases that are due to social transmission [sic]. So, someone reports that they were in contact with a friend, or someone that was in their social circle who tested positive,” Harrison said. 

But it’s not just private gatherings. Utah State University students themselves are making up a good percentage of the new cases. 

Sixteen COVID-19 cases have also been linked to a large Halloween party recently attended by hundreds who were not social distancing. 

In the meantime, the health department is trying to train as many contact tracers as possible.