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Health, Science & Environment

Another Day Of Record-Breaking COVID Numbers In Utah

COVID Brief Wed 0722_15.JPG
Spenser Heaps
/
Deseret News
Utah is in the midst of a second wave of coronavirus outbreaks, according to the state health department, following an initial surge over the summer.

The Utah Department of Health reported it’s highest single-day increase in positive coronavirus cases Friday, for the second day in a row.

The state saw a jump of 1,117 positive cases Friday, following an increase of 911 the day before. The state also reported 43 new hospitalizations, the most since July’s record of 49.

"This is another alarming day for our COVID-19 case numbers,” Gov. Gary Herbert said in a statement. “For months, we have warned people that they need to stay home if they are sick, and they need to stay away from others if they have tested positive for COVID-19. They need to wear a mask around others, even when they are not sick. We all need to consider the common public good when making daily decisions, and frankly, there is no room for lackadaisical behavior.”

In a press briefing Thursday, State Epidemiologist Angela Dunn said 40% of new cases this week came from Utah County, where just under 19% of the state’s population lives. The county recorded its highest single-day increase Friday, too, with 501 new cases. The spike has largely been attributed to college-aged students in the area.

Other outbreaks in public K-12 schools have been a cause of concern, including one in the Canyons School District that’s so far put one teacher on a ventilator and more than 500 students in quarantine.

Herbert said Thursday widespread testing is key to controlling the virus, and the state is working to expand it across the state, regardless of whether someone is showing symptoms. Given the recent surge, he said he’s also considering imposing more restrictive public health measures statewide, including a mask mandate.

“This week’s spikes make me seriously question if these warnings and public education are enough,” he said. “I’d like to emphasize that all of the tools that government has for controlling the spread of COVID-19 are on the table. We are seriously considering each one of them.”

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