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COVID-19 transmission rates in Cache Valley have been slowly increasing, putting the area at a moderate level.

Caleb Harrison, an epidemiologist at Bear River Health Department, said about 6.2% of COVID tests are coming back positive. He said the health department is recording about eight new cases a day, but the actual number of infections is likely higher because not everyone’s getting tested.

Harrison said there’s a chance that Cache County could move into the high level when results come in on Thursday, but it will most likely stay at moderate.

Cases have been increasing for the past month and a half, from zero to 10 cases per day to 15 cases.

“Not a huge increase in terms of number of cases, but overall that trend has been increasing,” Harrison said.

Harrison said while cases are increasing, Cache County is in a better spot compared to six months ago. He said there used to be 150 cases a day and two COVID-related deaths a week. Now, deaths are at one every three weeks.

Harrison said there are two main reasons cases are going up. The majority of these new cases are from unvaccinated individuals.

“I can’t stress enough: The recommendation is to get vaccinated,” he said. “If you know someone who isn’t or is hesitant, chat with them and encourage them to do so.”

The other reason is because the Delta variant of the coronavirus is more infectious.

“With the majority of the population still unvaccinated, a more infectious variant is going to spread faster,” Harrison said.

Harrison said those who aren’t vaccinated should still wear masks in indoor public places and quarantine when exposed to someone who tests positive. He said everyone should continue to stay home when sick, practice good hygiene and to get tested if they have COVID symptoms.

“My hope is that as we see more people get vaccinated and ideally as we weather whatever size storm this fall brings, we can try and prevent an increase like we saw last year,” Harrison said. “Hopefully we can get those COVID deaths, hospitalizations and cases down to zero for good and that comes down to getting vaccinated.”

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