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Wasatch County
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Wasatch County's Total COVID-19 Case Numbers Surpass Summit County's Despite Smaller Population

Wasatch County

On Wednesday, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Wasatch County since the start of the pandemic surpassed 2,300. Summit County in comparison still hadn’t surpassed that number by Wednesday.

Wasatch case counts exceeded Summit’s despite having a smaller population. For context, there were 42,000 people in Summit County, estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2019, whereas Wasatch County’s estimated population is around 34,000.

During the Wasatch County Council meeting on Wednesday night, local officials discussed concerns around the rise in numbers. 

Randall Probst is the director at Wasatch County Department of Health. He said it wasn’t until recently that Wasatch case numbers started to catch up to Summit County.

"We've always been fairly, significantly below Summit County until within the last two weeks," Probst said. "Within the last two weeks, our case counts have significantly daily increased more than Summit County. Now, our ratios are still similar to what's going on in Utah County and Salt Lake County."

He said there’s a few things the county health department can do to track case numbers as they continue to rise. 

"So we do monitor school to see what's happening," he said. "There are businesses we track pretty well. We're not seeing specific outbreaks in our businesses and those places. It's mostly at home.
He says while there are cases coming from residential facilities, the majority of cases are coming from family and social gatherings."

But as cases continue to spike it becomes increasingly hard to contact trace.

"With the numbers coming in as they are, none are able to contact trace like we did before, meaning on some days where we do well to just contact the positives, give them the instructions and have them share some of that information," he said. "But being able to reach far beyond into the community context, that's that's becoming almost impossible statewide with the number of cases that we have."

And not only does it become harder to keep track of cases, but contact tracing also depends on the compliance of community members.

"One of the reasons {for} some of the back off a little bit on contact tracing is just the lack of compliance with contact tracing," he said. "People are not willing to necessarily stay in quarantine, not willing to share some of their close contacts that could then be encouraged to stay at home. So compliance is an important part, being willing to do it not just at work, not just at school, not just where it's mandated. But to do it. Where it's not mandated is where the spread is happening."

Under current health orders from Utah’s governor, masks are required throughout the state, and limits on social gatherings are suggested not required.

You can find more information on health orders at coronavirus.utah.gov.

Jessica joins KPCW as a general assignment reporter and Sunday Weekend Edition host. A Florida native, she graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in English — concentrating in film studies — and journalism. Before moving to Utah, she spent time in Atlanta, GA.
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