WEBER-MORGAN COUNTIES, Utah (ABC4) – More than half of all counties in Utah are currently ranked high risk for transmission on the COVID-19 Transmission Index. However, even some counties ranked as moderate risk are seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases.
The Weber-Morgan Health Department covers the two counties its named after. Weber County is currently listed as high risk on the COVID-19 Transmission Index while Morgan county is listed as moderate risk. Nonetheless, the health department is reporting a surge in cases in both counties.
“We were seeing on average 41 cases a day coming in Weber and Morgan counties, and now we’re averaging closer to 82, 83 cases a day this week,” Communicable Disease and Epemiology Nurse Amy Carter tells ABC4. This increase taking place since July 14, 2021.
In that same time period, Carter says hospitalizations rose from 28 to 30 a week to the current number of 45 patients. The percentage of positive COVID-19 test results has risen from about 12% to over 15%. Sadly, there have also been 12 deaths in the last two weeks. “That’s 12 people gone too soon that we would have liked to have kept around with us,” Carter says. “That’s 12 families affected.”
With restrictions being lifted both at the state and national level, many started to believe the pandemic is over. So, why the sudden surge?
“COVID-19 was doing better, but it certainly wasn’t gone,” Carter states. Simply put, the pandemic isn’t over.
The health department attributes part of the surge to the relaxation of restrictions, but Carter says the biggest cause for the new surge may just be Delta variant, adding “It’s probably accounting for over 80% of our cases at this point in time.”
The variant spreads easily. Carter says those infected with the delta variant often carry more of the virus in their system than others who are infected. She says this means when a person coughs, or sings, or does anything that releases water droplets, there is a greater chance of spreading it to other people nearby. However, she says high vaccination rates help slow that spread.
The health department currently reports 41% of the population in the two counties to be fully vaccinated and 59% of the eligible population to have at least one dose of the vaccine.
“We’re seeing people get infected. We’re seeing people get sick. We’re seeing people be hospitalized. We’re seeing people die and these are all things we don’t want to see,” Carter states. “We can fight this.” She says the best way to beat the pandemic is to get vaccinated.
Right now, the health department is also encouraging all people, vaccinated or not, to continue the good health practices that have been emphasized during the entirety of the pandemic. Health officials are also encouraging all people to wear masks in public spaces where they do not know the vaccination status of others.