Experts fear Utah may lose at least 150 more people to COVID-19 by Christmas

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Those predicting the COVID-19 trends say things are not getting better.

This October, Utahn’s broke a few records Governor Gary Herbert and his team didn’t want to see.

Nearly 2,000 people tested positive for COVID-19, and more than 300 Utahns needed medical attention at the hospital last week.

The Utah Department of Health reports the state’s seven-day positivity rate sits at 17 percent, and 574 died from the virus as of Monday.

“I’m not seeing any signs of slowing,” says Erin Clouse a Strategic Project Manager at the University of Utah Health. “So we are seeing cases go up. Hospitalizations go up. The positivity rate is on a really steep incline right now, and deaths are still increasing as well.”

Clouse says the statistics show Utah is averaging five deaths a day because of COVID-19.

“With five people dying a day, it is at least 150 people by Christmas,” she says.

That death figure could be in the 300’s if people don’t change their ways. She says from July to September 2020, 149 Utahns died from COVID-19. From September 1st till October 26th, 155 Utahns died from the coronavirus.

150 Candles Representing Potential COVID-19 Deaths before Christmas.

Clouse believes Utah will hit a 20 percent seven-day rolling average of COVID-19 by the end of the month.

Adding, “That means 20 out of 100 people are testing positive or having to quarantine, or having to stay home from work or school.”

She says the rise in case counts began when school started last August.

“A lot of people were saying, ‘well they’re young, they don’t have all the complications older people do,’” she says. “But, what we saw a few days after maybe a week after the young population started to peak, we then saw the older populations following suit. All of the age ranges now are going up from that original peak of the younger population.”

Doctors say if Utahns physically distance themselves in public and wear a mask, the trends they are seeing will change dramatically within weeks.

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