Continuing a trend of increasing cases of COVID-19, the Bear River Health Department confirmed 38 new positive test results on Saturday. All of the new cases are in Cache County but one, in Box Elder.
Saturday's increase brings the total number of lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 to 206 in the three-county district. While the number of cases has doubled in a little more than a week, BRHD is still reporting that only 10 people have been hospitalized due to the coronavirus. BRHD considers 78 of those cases recovered, meaning people who have been "at least 3 days fever free without the use of medication, have improvement in respiratory symptoms, and 10 days must have passed since symptoms first appeared."
Only one of the new cases confirmed Saturday was in an individual older than 60; the rest were in the 18-60 age range.
BRHD officials stated Friday that "targeted tests" at some locations at "critical industries" had been planned over the next few days in an effort to protect essential employees but keep those industries operating.
Saturday is the largest daily increase in case confirmations, following 31 new cases on Friday, 22 on Thursday and 10 on Wednesday.
The rapid increase in confirmed cases comes about after Utah has relaxed social distancing guidelines and as testing capacity increases so health officials are better able to identify where the virus has been spreading in Cache Valley.
"As large numbers of individuals are tested, we anticipate an increase in positive cases," the department states.
When individuals test positive for COVID-19, they are temporarily removed from workplaces and isolated. BRHD's epidemiology team investigates, working to identify anyone else there's a significant chance the patient exposed to the virus.
The other county in the district, Rich, is still reporting zero confirmed cases.
The state overall reports more than 9,500 positive cumulative tests Saturday, an increase of about 270 since Friday. More than 210,100 people have been tested in the state, up nearly 4,300 from Friday. Ninety-nine positive cases are currently hospitalized, according to the state health department, and 112 deaths have been attributed to the virus among Utah residents.
Nearly 6,000 of cases in Utah are considered recovered. "A case with a diagnosis date of more than three weeks ago, who has not passed away, is considered recovered" by the Utah Department of Health.
Health officials recommend social distancing precautions to help avoid contracting or spreading the virus, including avoiding large gatherings, avoiding going within 6 feet of someone outside your household, and wearing a mask at times when close contact likely can't be avoided, such as grocery shopping.
For more information, visit brhd.org/coronavirus.