ST. GEORGE, Utah (ABC4 News) — As the St. George area sees its biggest spike in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations since the onset of the pandemic, school administrators are admonishing the public to strictly adhere to the public health guidelines in place to prevent any major outbreaks.
The Washington County School District says the rising cases in its schools are concerning and confirmed there now have been incidences of student-to-student transmission in at least one school. 21 students and 18 staff members are currently positive with COVID-19, while 291 others in the district are quarantined. On Tuesday, the district began posting its case counts online and plans to update them weekly.
“We assume the numbers could be higher because parents have to voluntarily report to the school,” director of communications Steven Dunham told ABC4 News. “We recognize that nobody wants to create fear about the situation, but it is what it is. We have cases that seem to be going up in our schools, so we really do need to be diligent about it.”
Dunham says the school administration is in close contact with Dixie Regional Medical Center and the Southwest Utah Public Health Department, who have discussed with the superintendent the “dire situation they’re facing.”
“They’ve asked for our support, and we are behind them 100%,” Dunham said, adding that while no schools are currently threatened to shut down, the tide can quickly turn.
“It wouldn’t take very much for us to get there, so we need to be cautious,” Dunham said. “We are optimistic that we can maintain where we are and maybe improve the rates a little bit.”
The Southwest Utah Public Health Department reported 84 new cases on Tuesday, the sixth-highest single-day case count since the outbreak of the pandemic:
- 134 cases on Oct. 23.
- 119 cases on Oct. 26.
- 92 cases on Oct. 17.
- 90 cases on Oct. 15
- 87 cases on Oct. 24
- 84 cases on Oct. 27.
- 81 cases on Oct. 21.
- 81 cases on July 16.
- 78 cases on July 24.
- 78 cases on July 17.
- 75 cases on Oct. 10
- 74 cases on July 7.
The 5-country region has now reported 54 deaths, including 5 deaths in the past 3 days, following the death of another resident of a long-term care facility, a Washington County woman between the ages of 65 and 84. 31 residents are currently hospitalized with COVID-19.