Doctors Say Utah Now Seeing COVID-19 Rise After Vacation


MURRAY – The current rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations is a sign of an increase in vacations, according to Dr Eddie Stenehjem, an infectious disease specialist at Intermountain Healthcare.

The severity of the situation depends on what the Utahns do to stop the spread.

“We expect January to be quite difficult from a hospital capacity perspective,” Stenehjem said.

As the number of COVID-19 cases increases, he said, there is typically a lag of seven to 10 days before the increase in hospitalizations, which is happening now.

The Utah Department of Health estimated there were 53,597 active cases of COVID-19 in the state as of Thursday. The seven-day moving average number of positive cases per day was 2,952, while the rate of positive tests per day had increased to 32.7%.

“Without a doubt, it’s a wave of, I would say the holidays, from Dec. 24 through New Years,” Stenehjem said.

The number of cases, the positivity rate and now hospitalizations are on the rise again after a drop in mid-December.

“We are now starting to see this ticking in hospitalizations both on the state data, and also on the internal data of Intermountain,” he said.

Stenehjem said it was the vacation wave they were expecting. “If you look at the trendline, it goes up,” he says.

Patients at the hospital tell doctors how they think they got the virus.

“‘Yeah, I had a vacation reunion … A few days later, someone got sick,” “Stenehjem said.

They were hoping hospitalizations would decline further in December to make room for patients during this outbreak, but that did not happen. The hospital again exceeds the threshold of 85%, which is the functional capacity of the hospital.

“Unfortunately, we expect this outbreak to continue, and we will start to see more and more cases, which will lead to more hospitalizations and, as we know, will ultimately lead to more deaths,” Stenehjem said. .

The duration of the outbreak depends on the spread of the virus over the past week and how quickly everyone is reverting to the practices of social distancing and limiting gatherings.

“If people come back to this, we expect to see those numbers come back down,” Stenehjem said.

With so many positive cases, the doctor said more people needed to get tested in order to better understand what is going on with the virus.

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