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Wasatch County Health Official Echoes Governor’s COVID-19 Concerns

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Ben Lasseter/KPCW
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At the Wasatch County council meeting Wednesday, a public health official echoed concerns of Governor Spencer Cox this week about schools and hospitalizations.

She said it’s a “worrisome” moment, even with case numbers currently at a manageable level and the vaccination rate rising. 

Wasatch County schools have started encouraging students to stay home even if they’ve only had a possible COVID-19 exposure.

Wasatch High School and Timpanogos Middle School were each in the top 10 of numbers of COVID-19 cases reported in Utah. The high school had 13 on Wednesday, and the middle school 10. Cedar Valley High in Utah County had the most with 31.

Health promotion director Jonelle Fitzgerald said local schools are a primary variable in the current phase of the pandemic.

That’s in part because children’s hospitals are fuller now than at other points in the pandemic.

“We’re at a worrisome place right now," Fitzgerald said after referencing Governor Spencer Cox's warnings about hospitals running thin on resources in a press conference Tuesday.

"There was a point last week when every ICU bed was full, and that has gone in a positive direction some," she said. "Part of that is that we’ve got other things going on. RSV is very high right now, causing some pediatric hospitalizations, and this is not really the season for that. Primary [Children’s] is full of kids with RSV, which is a hard situation because now if there’s COVID cases on top of that, we’re in trouble. So, it’s a case for limiting the spread of coronavirus, but also other sickness.”

RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, is a common sickness among children that causes cold-like symptoms.

Fitzgerald told the council about 11 new patients test positive for COVID-19 every day, about the same as Fitzgerald reported in the last council update a month ago.

Fewer people who get tested are testing positive now. That’s due in part to a new testing site that’s free, which means more people getting tested.

The health department set up a mobile testing site two weeks ago. It’s at the Wasatch County Rec Center in Heber City at 345 West 600 South.

She also reported vaccination rates. In total, 58% of the eligible population is fully vaccinated, and 67% have had at least one dose. Just under half of the county’s general population is fully vaccinated.

The leading age group in vaccinations in Wasatch County IS those 60 years and older. 96% have had at least one dose.

People between 19 and 39 are the least vaccinated group. Fitzgerald didn’t offer specifics for that category but said they were also in the group with the most cases and hospitalizations.

For more information about COVID and vaccinations in Wasatch County, visit coronavirus.wasatch.utah.gov.

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