Wasatch County Health Department suggests decline in omicron COVID-19 surge
Amid some of the highest numbers for COVID-19 transmission Wasatch County has experienced, there may be cause for optimism.
The month of January set a new bar for COVID numbers statewide and in the Wasatch Back, including in Wasatch County.
“The numbers we’ve been seeing over the past several weeks - probably since about the start of the month - have been higher than we’ve seen at any other time during the pandemic,” said Chris Smoot, Wasatch County Health Department epidemiologist.
Spurred by the highly contagious omicron variant, transmission of COVID this month peaked at an average of 130 new cases per day in Wasatch County. That’s nearly triple the rate of previous highs in late 2020.
But, as Smoot told the Wasatch County Board of Health in a meeting last week, the latest surge might have peaked. Over the past week, new daily case averages fell sharply from more than 110 to the mid-80s. Still, he said, the county “isn’t out of the woods yet.”
One factor in the numbers could be recent guidance to most of the public not to get tested for COVID and instead just stay home if they have symptoms.
But an apparent drop in transmission is also evident in other ways the health department measures the virus’s local presence. Recently, there’s been less virus present in wastewater samples, and hospitals and clinics are reporting fewer patients.
“Those among some other indicators are showing that we may have peaked for sure,” Smoot said. “Numbers are coming down, which is good news.”
In Wasatch County, about 55% of people are vaccinated with at least a completed first round of immunization. That’s about the same percentage as at the beginning of January.
The health department still encourages everyone to get vaccinated and boosted, and for anyone unsure about vaccines to research their options.
“It’s still growing, but I think it’s slowed, people getting fully vaccinated,” Smoot said. “So I think at this point, those that have decided to get vaccinated have probably made that choice, and those that feel like they don’t want to have also made that choice.”
About a quarter of people in Wasatch County have received a booster shot, or about half of those who were vaccinated already.
Smoot says that could be a factor in hospitals reporting fewer visitors.
For the latest information on COVID in Wasatch County, visit coronavirus.wasatch.utah.gov.