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0000017b-652b-d50a-a3ff-f7efb02e0000KPCW's COVID-19 news coverage for Summit County and Wasatch County, Utah. 0000017b-652b-d50a-a3ff-f7efb02f0000You can also visit the Utah Department of Health, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization websites for additional information.

July Uptick in Wasatch County COVID-19 Cases Concerning to Health Officials


Wasatch County has seen a significant rise in COVID-19 cases in July. The county’s current seven-day average for positive cases is over eight per day, up from two at the beginning of the month. The county’s relatively low vaccination rate is also causing concern among local health officials.


Wasatch County Health Director Jonelle Fitzgerald said the county’s July spike in COVID-19 cases -- although alarming -- mirrors what is being seen across Utah. Statewide infection rates have risen by 64% over the past few weeks as the delta variant of the virus continues to spread. She said the difference this summer is the widespread availability of vaccines. 


“Definitely an uptick and similar to what we saw last July, which is concerning,” Fitzgerald said. “The difference, however, is that we do have a lot of our population vaccinated.”


Fitzgerald said with the Fourth of July and Pioneer Day holidays bringing people together on a scale not seen in 2020, a spike in cases was not surprising.


Mirroring another common data point seen across the state, the vast majority of recent positive cases in Wasatch County have been from unvaccinated individuals. According to Fitzgerald, 54% of eligible people in Wasatch County have been vaccinated. All people over the age of 12 are eligible to receive a vaccine. Statewide, over 90% of new cases have been from those who are unvaccinated.


Fitzgerald said there have been a few instances of vaccinated people still getting sick -- called “breakthrough cases” -- but those are rare.


“By far the majority of cases are among unvaccinated people,” said Fitzgerald. “We do have some cases that are breakthrough cases of people that have been vaccinated, however, like I said, the majority, by far, are among unvaccinated people.”


Fitzgerald added that the county’s most vulnerable population of people over the age of 80 are nearing a 100% vaccination rate.


When it comes to encouraging more people in Wasatch County to get vaccinated, Fitzgerald said there isn’t one reason people might not want to get their shot.


She said some people are skeptical of how new the vaccines are, some are more worried about serious -- but extremely rare -- side effects associated with the vaccine, and others just don’t think the disease will make them sick enough to warrant a vaccine.


She encouraged people to search out credible sources of information or talk to their doctor before deciding whether or not to get their shot.


“I think there’s a lot of myths out there of those possible unknowns, which aren’t necessarily true,” she said. “I do encourage everyone to really read up from reputable sources about the vaccine, how they’re created. Talk to your doctor, learn about the realities of how safe these vaccines are because there are a lot of misnomers out there about the risks of vaccines that are really unfounded.”


COVID-19 vaccines in Wasatch County are widely available and free to get. The Wasatch County Health Department will be holding a children’s vaccine clinic on August 5th from 3pm-7pm. Vaccines are also available at clinics, pharmacies, and popup locations county-wide.


To find a vaccine near you, click here.

Sean Higgins covers all things Park City and is the Saturday Weekend Edition host at KPCW. Sean spent the first five years of his journalism career covering World Cup skiing for Ski Racing Media here in Utah and served as Senior Editor until January 2020. As Senior Editor, he managed the day-to-day news section of skiracing.com, as well as produced and hosted Ski Racing’s weekly podcast. During his tenure with Ski Racing Media, he was also a field reporter for NBC Sports, covering events in Europe.