As Cases Plateau, State Working Towards A Decrease In COVID Cases
The COVID-19 curve has plateaued in Utah. The Utah Department of Health is working to push the state into a decline in cases.
Governor Gary Herbert announced the state would go from Red to Orange color coded alert on May 1st. State epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn says over the week and a half since the announcement the state has maintained ample testing and hospital capacity, as well as a plateau in cases. Dunn says the next step in flattening the curve is to see a decrease in cases.
We are looking for that decline and that's just something we haven't seen yet,” Dunn continued. “So, we're really working hard to do that. Some of the tactics were taking are those strike teams that were already mentioned, identifying hotspots really quickly, and moving to contain the spread. Because of our lower case counts, we’re having the ability to definitely be more efficient at those hotspot interventions. So, hopefully that will start showing up in our curve and seeing a decline.”
The next step in the states COVID-19 response is to move counties from the Orange designation to Yellow. Dr. Dunn says they’re taking a holistic approach to evaluating when that’ll happen in different counties in the state.
“That's going to depend on the overall context of the local jurisdiction,” Dunn said. “Taking into account hospitalization rates. What their growth rate has been previously, because we certainly want to make sure that we're not moving jurisdictions into yellow when they're starting to see an increase in their number of cases, regardless of the transmission rate. So, we take this holistic picture of what's happening in each jurisdiction before making those recommendations.”
Dr. Dunn was also asked about anti-body testing that the University of Utah is conducting in a select few areas in the state including Summit County.
“We don't have definitive numbers yet, or results from that,” Dunn explained. “What we can use antibody testing for moving forward is a little unclear, because given the low case numbers we have in Utah the chance that an individual it gets a false positive is very high. Meaning that the antibody will show that they had been exposed to COVID-19 in the past, when in fact they hadn’t. So it's really essential that we work with our HealthCare Partners and our laboratorians to deploy antibody testing in a meaningful way and that's what we're doing.”
For those considered high risk for COVID-19 the state has also added a hotline for high-risk residents and their caretakers to call. To be directed to meal, grocery or medication delivery you can call 877-424-4640 Monday-Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.