Utah’s COVID-19 cases rise during the fall

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WEBER COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) – Counties across Utah are seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases. The Weber-Morgan Health Department saw more than 4,000 new cases in October. The most cases in a single month since January. An official explains what’s causing the current increase.

“We are seeing a growth trend over the last week or so, which is unfortunate,” Epidemiology Nurse Amy Carter told ABC4. She explained that COVID-19 cases are increasing across both Weber and Morgan County.

“We actually expected to see some higher numbers in September and October.” The health department’s COVID-19 dashboard shows that expectation turned out to be reality. There were more than 3,800 new cases in September and more than 4,000 in October. “We actually did better on our higher numbers than we anticipated that worst-case scenario to be,” added Carter.

While cases didn’t reach the projected high, both months saw more new cases than the previous seven months. May saw the lowest number of new cases with just under 1,000.

Carter explained that there are a few reasons for the current fall trend. “We start back to school, and we have colder weather, and we have a lot of people who are now indoors spending a lot of time closer to each other.” Along with more people inside, she said another factor for the recent increase is the delta variant which spreads easier and can cause more severe illness. She said currently it is “the majority of our COVID-19 infections that we’re seeing.”

The 15-to-44-year-old age groups account for the largest share of the new cases. Carter told ABC4 that has been the trend for this age group quite often, “and that makes sense,” she said. “These are our students, our workforce, these people are out in the community.”

Currently, vaccinated individuals account for about 15 percent of COVID-19 cases that result in hospitalization and death across the two counties. “Compared to that 84, 85 percent of those three events happening in people who are fully vaccinated,” Carter added.

This is something first responders are seeing in the area too.

Odgen City Deputy Fire Chief Mike Slater said, “There have been some breakthrough cases. Most of the breakthrough cases that we’ve seen have been maybe a household member who has been vaccinated is living with someone who hasn’t been vaccinated, so I’d still say this really a pandemic for the unvaccinated.”

So far this year, the Ogden Fire Department reports that EMS calls for people suffering from COVID-19 is up nearly 30 percent in comparison to last year. The fire department encourages people to do what they can to slow the spread of COVID-19 to help keep their additional workload down.

Carter told ABC4 the health department expects to see cases increase throughout the holiday season. She said in the two counties, about 50 percent of the entire population is fully vaccinated.

Carter added: “And really to kind of achieve that herd immunity that we talk about — that we want to have for that level of protection — you really need to get upwards of high 70s, 80s, or 90s.”

Carter said the health department believes the approval of the vaccine for kids ages five to eleven will help the two counties get closer to that immunity. She encouraged those who can to get vaccinated as well as getting tested when feeling ill, practicing good hygiene, and staying home when sick.

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