COVID-19: What is Utah’s transmission rate? Is it expected to rise?

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Some COVID-19 models are showing an uptick in transmission rates in Utah since the reopening of parts of the state’s economy.

Rt.live is a website created by the founders of Instagram that tracks COVID-19’s rate of transmission (RT); showing how fast the virus is spreading or slowing throughout the nation and a breakdown by state.

Rt.live shows COVID-19’s transmission rate in the Beehive State is at .97 as of May 5th. Which would suggest that Utah’s RT is slowing down.

This transmission rate means if you have the virus, a person is likely to infect one other person.

And state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn said Utah models suggest the infection rate here, is around 1.1 to 1.3.

“What we really are aiming to do for this pandemic is get to a transmission rate of less than one,” Dunn said. “That’s how you know it’s getting under control. That means that your case rate is decreasing.”

With the economy beginning to reopen, Dunn said the COVID-19 transmission rates will not stabilize until there’s immunity or a vaccine.

“We in public health are preparing for a transmission rate that will increase,” Dunn said. “That’s just by the nature of being in contact with more people, as social distancing measures relax.”

And if we continue to follow public health guidelines, Dunn said she hopes the rate of infection stays around one and drops by fall. But this is all contingent on the public.

“Again, that’s going to largely depend on the impact of decreasing social distancing measures as we move forward,” Dunn said.

To help limit the spread, Dunn reminds the public to maintain social distance, practice good hygiene and wear a mask when a six-foot distance is not an option.

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