UTAH (ABC4) – With COVID-19 transmission spiking earlier this month, five Utah counties have landed on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) “high” transmission watch list.

According to CDC COVID-tracking data, these five Utah counties have landed in the CDC’s worst category, reporting high community transmission and hospitalization rates.

The five Utah counties with high community infection levels are:

  • Grand County
  • Salt Lake County
  • San Juan County
  • Summit County
  • Tooele County

Each county’s community level is determined by the number of new COVID cases, new COVID hospitalizations and the percent of in-patient beds occupied by COVID patients.

In high transmission counties, the CDC recommends wearing a well-fitting mask while indoors in public, regardless of vaccination status or individual risk. Masks are also recommended for those who are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe illness.

Earlier this week, the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended vaccines for children six months and older, with health officials reminding the public that COVID-19 has not disappeared.

“We strongly encourage healthcare providers to familiarize themselves with the CDC recommendations and begin immunizing these children immediately,” said Dr. Leisha Nolen, a pediatrician and the state epidemiologist at the Utah Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). “Doctors, and especially pediatricians, will play a critical role in vaccinating this population. We hope doctors will proactively reach out to their patients with the information they need to make the decision to vaccinate their children.”

Although summer has reopened tourist destinations, country borders and local businesses, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that after five weeks of declining COVID deaths, the number of fatalities reported globally increased by 4% earlier this month. WHO reports a 21% increase in the Americas and a 17% increase in the Western Pacific.

“Because many countries have reduced surveillance and testing, we know this number is under-reported,” says WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. He said there was “no acceptable level of deaths from COVID-19,” given that the global community now has the vaccines, medicines and diagnostics to stop the virus.

The CDC updates its COVID-19 community transmission level maps in Utah every week. Counties currently under the “low” or “medium” category could potentially be moved up if cases continue increasing.