COVID-19 Cases Continue To Increase In Summit County Two To Three Fold
On Wednesday the State Department of Health reported there are 63 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Utah. 53 are residents and 10 are visitors to the state. Summit County has 22 of those cases. Fifteen of them are Summit County residents, and the other 7 are visitors.
The only other Utah county that has a higher number of COVID-19 cases than Summit County, as of Wednesday, is Salt Lake County with 24 cases. Salt Lake County has approximately 1.1 million residents compared to Summit County’s 40,000.
Summit County Health Department Communication & Public Engagement Officer Derek Siddoway says the Park City area is a tourist destination and with that comes the introduction of illnesses like the new coronavirus. The spread ratio of the virus is about two and half infections for one confirmed case of COVID-19. For this reason, Siddoway says staying six-feet away from other people, sanitizing and self-isolation are the most critical practices public health officials can message to the community.
He says the health department looks at models that show how the virus will spread but he says they won’t speculate on infection numbers. Siddoway is asking that people trust in the directions coming from the public health department. Tests continue to be in short supply.
“We don’t know how many people are in the community that have COVID-19 that haven't been tested yet or maybe aren't showing enough symptoms to be tested which is something that's an issue not only here at Summit County but at the state level and across the nation as well. There just aren't the number of tests there should be yet. When you take the number we’re at now and do some math on that, that will give you an estimate based on the number of cases that we have now and where we could potentially be a few days from now.”
Siddoway says the CDC is easing up on testing requirements. With the high number of cases identified so far, he hopes more tests will enhance efforts to slow the spread of the virus. He doesn’t know how many tests have been done for Summit County residents or visitors. Identifying contacts of those who test positive is keeping healthcare providers very busy.
I can say that our nursing department and our nursing staff have been working almost around the clock to continue with the investigation of these cases and then also working with the information we receive from the state. Again, that's something that's constantly evolving and continues to change as the COVID-19 continues to spread in our community.”
For each positive test, the virus is passed along to between two and three other people. They are no longer making public announcements about where people with the virus have been prior to their diagnosis.
“And at this time, it has evolved to the point where we believe there is an equal risk in all areas of the County so that's why that information is being provided at this point. We encourage everyone to assume the same level of risk regardless of where they may live in Summit County.”
He says everyone must take all precautions including social distancing and sanitizing, which includes frequent hand washing for a minimum of 20 seconds. And, if someone has a fever and cough, they should self-isolate at home and stay there. Siddoway reminds people, if they feel unwell, they must NOT go to their doctor’s office without calling ahead first. If symptoms are mild, public health recommendations are self-isolate until the symptoms go away.