Following news of an outbreak at the Cache County Jail, local COVID-19 numbers are showing a spike.
The Bear River Health Department reported 41 new cases on Thursday and 25 on Wednesday. For comparison, since the middle of August, the rolling 7-day average of new lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases has oscillated between about 10 and 15 a day.
The Cache County Sheriff’s Office reported Wednesday that 46 of its inmates had tested positive for COVID-19, 45 of whom were asymptomatic at the time.
The recent boost in new cases does reflect the jail outbreak, BRHD Spokesperson Josh Greer said, and results from the jail testing came in over a couple of days.
“Overall, I think we’re doing pretty well,” Greer said. “It’s unfortunate for the jail in this outbreak, but it’s fortunate for the community in that it’s very well contained and that it’s not going anywhere.”
The three-county Bear River Health District reported only three new cases on Friday, its lowest single-day increase since Aug. 24. The rolling 7-day average of new daily cases was about 15 as of Friday. The number of patients in local hospitals with COVID-19 decreased to 1 on Friday, the lowest it has been for months. There are nearly 300 estimated active cases in the district.
While BRHD’s numbers have been relatively low for the past few weeks, anxiety over the potential for outbreaks remains high among some residents as school starts up again. No outbreaks at local elementary and secondary schools have been reported so far, but Utah State University made headlines this week when it quarantined four dorms after detecting a spike in the virus with a wastewater monitoring system.
As of Friday, four of the 287 quarantined students had positive tests recorded by a university survey.
Anxieties notwithstanding, Greer said the pandemic has been fairly calm lately in the district.
“If you take those (jail outbreak) numbers out, we’re still holding pretty confident,” Greer said. “We haven’t seen really anything major since school started.
Greer encouraged people to continue their efforts to limit the spread of the virus.
“We’re seeing good things because of really everything that everyone’s doing,” Greer said. “The mask-wearing, the social distancing, staying home when sick and certainly the businesses and asking their patrons to wear masks — it’s working. Something’s happening.”