COVID-19 Cases Spike Statewide Before Holiday Weekend
New COVID-19 cases throughout Utah are spiking. Cases Wednesday were the highest since March.
The Utah Department of Health reported 574 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday and 540 cases Thursday. The last time new daily cases surpassed 500 was March 25.
The surge in cases comes just days before the Fourth of July weekend. During his weekly COVID-19 briefing, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox said the majority of the cases are from unvaccinated people.
"If you're unvaccinated, you should be worried this Fourth of July … you should be very worried this fourth of July," Cox said. "And I wouldn't want to hang out with a whole bunch of unvaccinated people over the Fourth, I would be very careful about that. The good news is that you can all get vaccinated before the Fourth of July."
As of Thursday, almost 65% of all adults in the state have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Cox had set a goal of vaccinating 70% of adults by the fourth, which he said probably won’t happen.
In Summit County, 85% of the eligible residents have received a first dose - significantly higher than Wasatch, where only 57% of residents are vaccinated.
But there are breakthrough cases, meaning cases of COVID in fully vaccinated people. Cox said 7% of cases and hospitalizations were vaccinated people, and 5% of deaths were breakthrough cases. He said this falls in line with the efficacy rates reported during vaccine trials.
The number of people in the hospital has increased over the last month. There were 257 people in the hospital with COVID-19 on Thursday. The last time hospitals were that full was February 19.
Cox said this is concerning because hospital numbers normally rise during the weekend of The Fourth.
"There are a lot of traumatic events that happen over big holidays like this, there are accidents and burns ... ATV accidents," he said. "And so we do tend to see a surge in our emergency rooms that are not COVID related during this time of year. And so we want people to be extra cautious."
Despite the rise in hospitalizations and cases, Cox said he’s not going to announce any new restrictions or mandates.
"We're not doing that again," he said. "We have the answer to all of this. And the answer isn't to restrictions, the answer isn't to destroy people's jobs, the answer isn't to force people to wear masks, the answer is to get vaccinated."
In the Wasatch Back, cases have stayed low. After Summit County saw a slight increase in cases last week, Summit reported one new case Thursday. Wasatch County reported two new cases Thursday - the same as last week.