The COVID-19 confirmed cases roundup on Thursday brought new insights as the Bear River Health Department announced the seventh confirmed case in it’s coverage area was the first to be defined as “community spread.”
The exact place of origin was not specified. BRHD covers Cache, Rich and Box Elder counties.
“Community spread just means we don’t know the source or contact of the disease,” said Holly Budge, the BRHD public information officer. “Typically we are able to determine whether it was travel-related or if they were exposed to a known case. In this case, the source of the infection is unknown.”
Cases of community-spread coronavirus have already been confirmed in previous weeks in larger, more urban communities across the state.
“What has been tricky is that our testing has not been to the level we had hoped until now. There is a lot more testing availability now,” Budge said. “The reality is that we could have already had community spread but we just didn’t know because the testing was not there.”
In a press conference on Thursday afternoon in Salt Lake City, State Epidemiologist Angela Dunn said even with increased testing, the increase of confirmed cases had only gone up 15% on Thursday.
Budge said those numbers are optimistic.
“It is true that you would expect that when testing increases, the number of cases would go up, but it can also help us understand how to flatten the curve,” Budge said.
Understanding how quickly cases are going up can help determine the need for more social distancing, according to Budge.
“If there is community spread and you are doing your part to stay home and wash your hands, then our community will be OK,” Budge said. “The more we can keep beating that drum of social distancing and good hygiene it gives people power of what they can do to protect themselves.”