I type this message with several sobering realities in mind that I’d like to share with you:
- In the past two weeks, we have had three more individuals pass away due to complications from contracting COVID.
● Over this past weekend, Castleview Hospital was so overloaded with COVID patients already there and needing treatment that they were enacting plans to transport patients to the nearest available hospital rooms – five hours away.
● Today we are reporting 21 new cases of COVID – a one day high for our three counties.
● Emery County accounts for 12 of today’s cases, also a one day high for any of our three counties.
● 10 of today’s cases are from Huntington, an alarming number for a small community.
● Grand County is averaging about 3 cases per day, for the last 12 days, after a stretch of very few cases in 5 weeks.
● The current surge in cases is being driven by individuals from age 25-64.
● Grand and Emery Counties currently have some of the highest rates of active cases in Utah.Here’s what else we know:
● People primarily get infected from someone living in their home or when they’re socializing. These account for almost 80% of our cases, as seen in the following graph:
● Hospitalizations lag behind cases. In other words, the surge we see now has a real possibility of leading to more hospitalizations in 5-10 days.
● All three counties are testing at a high rate and the percent of positive tests is increasing in each county.
● Many employers have been affected by employee quarantines because those employees are meeting in close quarters without proper distancing or mask use.
Despite these realities, in many ways, Carbon, Emery, and Grand Counties have been spared from the worst effects of the pandemic. Here is some of the good news:
● Masks work.
● Flu shots are available right now.
● Testing continues to be readily available, including an increase in inexpensive rapid testing in each county.
● Thus far, school related transmission appears to be very minimal.
● Long term care facilities have been vigilant.
● Our hospitals and health care providers have been incredible in doing their jobs.
● Halloween isn’t cancelled. If you choose to go out, please exercise caution, remain in family groups, wear a mask, and use gloves.
● High risk individuals should avoid public events, especially on Halloween night.
My plea to every resident and visitor to our area is to not let down your guard and continue to implement the simple changes that will help keep you and your neighbor healthy. Stay home from school or work if you are sick. Stay away from large gatherings if you are a high risk individual. Recommit to using your mask while you’re indoors and cannot socially distance. Remember to wash your hands more. Be kind and respectful to others. Remember that, for most of us, the consequences of COVID infection are minimal, but for certain high risk groups, they are devastating and even deadly.