The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Cache County jumped by six Friday after weeks of no new cases or only one new case per day.
The Bear River Health Department on Friday announced the total number of cumulative lab-confirmed cases has reached 70 in the district, which includes Cache, Box Elder and Rich counties. Cache now has had 51 confirmed cases, while Box Elder has had 19. Rich is still reporting zero confirmed cases. Of the 70 confirmed cases in the district, BRHD listed 53 as recovered.
BRHD spokesperson Josh Greer said that three of the new cases involved exposure to a known case, and the other three cases are still under investigation.
Greer said he didn’t anticipate the investigation to reveal a hotspot. Rather, until a vaccine is available, we should expect to continue to see new cases from time to time. Additionally, Greer said, the availability of testing has increased to the point where anyone with any symptoms of illness can be tested, and soon those front-line workers at higher risk of exposure may get testing, as well. As testing increases, the health district should continue to see more positive cases.
Since the state health department has been providing data on how people are being exposed to the virus, Greer said, they’re seeing that most people testing positive had been exposed to a known case when that person was sick. Greer’s takeaway: Stay home if you’re sick.
“While asymptomatic spread is possible, really what we’re seeing more and more is people that are testing positive have been in contact with somebody that’s sick,” Greer said. “So it really just drives home the message that if you’re sick, stay home. Don’t be out there interacting with people at work, with people in the grocery store or wherever.”
Greer said that while the six-case jump came a week after Gov. Gary Herbert relaxed COVID-19 restrictions, due to the incubation period of the virus it will probably take at least two weeks for such changes to impact case numbers.
In announcing the move from “high” to “moderate” coronavirus risk for the state overall, the governor acknowledged that “we will not be the way we were before until we have a vaccine. Green would be the new normal.”
“We’re about managing risk,” Herbert said. “There is no belief we can get to zero risk, but we’re going to try to manage it.”
Herbert said he anticipates staying in the moderate risk phase for at least the next couple of weeks.
Statewide, there are nearly 6,000 cumulative confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Friday, an increase of almost 200 from Thursday. Nearly 2,800 of those cases are considered recovered, meaning the case was diagnosed more than three weeks ago and the patient has not died. About 490 people confirmed to have COVID-19 have been hospitalized in Utah, with about 90 hospitalized currently. Of the confirmed cases, 61 have died. Nearly 140,000 tests have been performed.
The one death listed in the district was Allen Dee Pace, a senior missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who was a resident of Box Elder County but serving in the Detroit area when he fell ill.