Another county in Utah is now at a medium risk level for COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Grand County has joined Salt Lake and Summit counties at the elevated level, while Weber County has returned to low status along with the rest of the state based on the Utah Department of Health’s latest weekly update for the virus, showing there has been another 5,728 cases reported statewide since May 26.
That’s an increase of slightly more than 100 new cases from the previous week. The seven-day average case count is up just over 2% this week, after jumping more than 25% between May 12 and 26. However, the number of cases is likely higher since many rely on home tests to determine if they have the virus and those results are not reported.
Also, most testing as well as treatments for COVID-19 that had been handled by the state were turned over to private providers as of April 1, under Gov. Spencer Cox’s new “steady state” response to the pandemic that treats the virus more like the flu or other endemic disease.
Hospitalizations in Utah are rising faster than case counts, with the seven-day average of patients with COVID-19 up nearly 22% over the past week, to about 101. The daily average for patients sick enough with the virus to be in an intensive care unit rose just over 14%.
The CDC looks at both case counts and hospitalizations in determining community levels for COVID-19 by county, a change in how the federal agency assesses risk made after the massive surge earlier this year driven by the highly transmissible omicron variant of the virus.
Now, it takes double the number of weekly cases per 100,000 residents, combined with a strain on hospitals as measured by the number of beds filled with virus patients and the capacity available, for a county to reach the moderate or high community level.
People in a medium-risk county are advised by the CDC to try to maintain improved ventilation throughout both private and public indoor spaces and keep up with their COVID-19 vaccination, including booster shots now available to everyone 5 and older.
Those at high risk for a severe case of the virus should consult with their health care providers about whether they need to wear masks and take other precautions, including testing for the virus, according to the CDC guidelines, and anyone living or spending time with people at high risk may want to mask up and test.
Widespread masking is only recommended now at the highest community level of risk.
Under the CDC’s previous transmission measures, much of Utah as well as the rest of the country is considered to be at high risk. Utah has adopted the federal agency’s new community levels standards and includes the CDC’s map on the state health department’s coronavirus.utah.gov website.
Summit County was the first to reach the moderate level, moving from green to yellow on the CDC’s map last month. Before that, all of Utah had been at a low, or green level, even as cases climbed throughout the northeast as new omicron subvariants continue to spread.