SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – The Utah Department of Health reported 495 new cases of COVID-19 and three additional deaths on Thursday. It’s the second highest single-day increase in cases.

“Let’s just say, we’re troubled,” said Greg Bell, President and CEO of the Utah Hospital Association. “Things have worsened. We’ve seen a sustained uptick and the trend is not good.”

Bell said the state is testing the same amount of people, but more of them are testing positive.

“We’ve had a historical rate of 4.3 percent positives among our testing. That now is running more like eight or nine percent. That’s a scary number.”

Bell told ABC4 News that the reason for the spike in cases is because “people have gone on with their normal activities.”

“If we keep the rate of this increase going, by the end of summer we’re going to start having capacity problems,” said the President and CEO.

Bell said the issue isn’t only with hospitals being “overtaxed” and the number of hospital beds.

“There are only a certain amount of trained nurses and techs who can administer the life-saving tools, medication, machinery that this requires.”

Bell said it’s important to open the economy but the tradeoff is:

People need to wear masks
Practice social distancing
Vulnerable individuals need to shelter at home as much as possible

“If we do those things, the hospitals feel like we can continue to enjoy the amenities, businesses, restaurants, etc., that have been open.”

Brittany Johnson
Brittany prides herself on seeking the truth about everyday issues in the community and providing citizens with the information they need to make the best possible decisions.