COVID-19 data: recent cases likely not declining indicating that coronavirus is leaving Utah

SALT LAKE CITY – It is refreshing to see Utah’s COVID-19 epidemiological curve in recent weeks after months of increases; However, there are indications that the recent case does not show the full picture of COVID-19 in the state.

In a traditional sense, the prevalence of COVID-19 can be determined by looking at new cases discovered through testing. But what happens when the test of coronovirus is not really consistent?

This is where other statistics together help how COVID-19 is currently affecting the state.

Confirmation cases decrease, positivity rate gradually increasing

The Utah Department of Health reported tests taken on Friday and 972 new cases of COVID-19 from 802 on Saturday. Those figures reported the lowest single-day increase since early October. In fact, it broke a limit of 1,000 or more new daily cases announced by the Department of Health. On October 12, the department reported another 1,700 cases from the trials, which is less than the ongoing seven-day rolling average. Christmas.

The state’s COVID-19 epidemiological curve and the seven-day rolling average of new cases have also declined since December 10.

This graph shows the seven-day running average of new COVID-19 cases from March to December 2020.  It was last updated on December 28, 2020.
This graph shows the seven-day running average of new COVID-19 cases from March to December 2020. It was last updated on December 28, 2020. (Photo: Utah Department of Health)
This graph shows the COVID-19 epidemiological curve of Utah from March 2020 through March.  It was last updated on December 28, 2020.
This graph shows the COVID-19 epidemiological curve of Utah since March 2020. It was last updated on Monday, December 28, 2020. (Photo: Utah Department of Health)

That said, the test is another figure that has fallen in the same time frame. For example, according to Health Department data, more than 15,000 people were tested for COVID-19 on Thanksgiving December 9 – the most tests conducted after Thanksgiving. Apart from a few outsiders, the state has since conducted less than 10,000 tests. Testing was not conducted on Christmas day and test sites were closed on Christmas Eve, but a downward trend is visible on a graph before the holiday.

Meanwhile, the percentage of positive tests for testing, commonly called positivity rates, has only increased since the time in which the cases had declined. Compared to Monday, Utpa’s seven-day rolling average positivity rate is 24 December, which will occur on 22 December. The weekend’s preliminary figures show a positivity rate close to 30%, meaning the number will increase in the coming days.

This graph shows the COVID-19 positivity rate running for seven days from March 2020.  It was last updated on December 28, 2020.
This graph shows the seven-day run of the COVID-19 positivity rate from March 2020. It was last updated on December 28, 2020. (Photo: Utah Department of Health)

Experts have stated that positivity rates are an important statistic as it can provide a better assessment of when a virus prevalent in a community is widely tested for fluctuations and becomes unreliable. In this case, the positivity rate is the largest indication that COVID-19 is not leaving Utah, even if the case is being counted.

“We are definitely concerned because it represents a high level of community broadcasting,” Drs. Said Todd Vento, an infectious disease physician for Intermountain Healthcare. “Therefore, it is that we are monitoring the situation to see if there are any additional measures that we need to address.”

Vento said health officials do not know precisely why the test is currently down; However, they have seen a trend from the entire epidemic and diseases aside from COVID-19. On a smaller scale, some days – such as Sundays and Mondays – perform fewer tests than others. It is believed to occur when one is expected to be out in public for any reason, such as work.

“The same kind of concept after the holidays,” Vento said. “We’ve seen in the past where the numbers were down. Yesterday’s numbers were much lower, which people liked more – for lack of a better word – waking up from their sleep than vacation and maybe, say on Tuesday or on Wednesday They will start thinking, “Okay, I’m going, I will be tempted.” It is also not uncommon for other respiratory diseases. “

Since the trial was down, he said the epidemiological curve and the count of seven-day running cases “probably aren’t accurately reflecting what’s in the community” especially when it takes into account the days where testing is limited. Was.

This is where the game of positivity runs.

He added, “You can’t just look at cases and cases by adding them to the seven-day average because it won’t reflect exactly the kind of tests that were done.”

As to Utah’s positivity rate, it has been a roller coaster over the past few weeks. After climbing 25.4% on 10 November, a few days before Thanksgiving, it fell 21.8% on 22 November. On December 1 it rose again to its current all-time high of 27.2%. Before that it was reduced to 22.3% on 22 December. It has been climbing steadily ever since, but at a much slower rate.

What has happened to the COVID-19 hospitals?

Of course, the biggest concern with COVID-19 is its impact on hospitals and deaths. Vento said Utah hospitals have stabilized due to coronovirus and even fallen a bit. It is a welcome sign for a statewide hospital system that was on the verge of full capacity.

People hospitalized due to COVID-19 usually fall behind with new cases, so the state’s current 606 hospitalizations on December 6 mainly result in COVID-19 cases before Thanksgiving. was. Public health experts warned of holiday celebrations with the fear that hospitalizations would only increase.

It appears that Utahns paid attention to epidemiological recommendations, at least thanks to them. While many new cases were still reported, it was not nearly as feared. As a result, the state health department reported more than 500 hospitalizations just before Christmas, the first time since November – November due to COVID-19.

“While there was an uptick in the nation – (there was a downfall) and then a surge after thanksgiving to the United States – we did not see that level of escalating cases after thanksgiving as we were understanding or concerned, which was very Is good, “he said.

He said that hospitals have also learned to live for patients who do not require ICU care by providing a recovery model at home so that people can leave the hospital as quickly as possible.

Data may show that COVID-19 has not left the state even after the decline in new cases, but a positive sign is that new hospitals are on the decline due to coronaviruses.

The state’s health department recently began reporting a seven-day rolling average of new hospitals per day on top of current hospitalization figures. Utah reached an average of 92.4 hospitalizations per day on November 18. On that day 116 new Eutnis were hospitalized due to COVID-19.

This graph shows the average number of hospitals operating seven new days from March 2020 to December 2020 due to COVID-19.  It was last updated on December 28, 2020.
This graph shows the seven-day running average of new hospitalizations due to COVID-19 from March to December 2020. It was last updated on December 28, 2020. (Photo: Utah Department of Health)

On average, as of 22 December, 71.2 new hospitalizations per day were recorded, which is the first day beyond the department’s incomplete new hospitalization figures. These figures are still high, especially compared to the numbers before November. Nevertheless, it showed that the following guidelines for Thanksgiving gatherings not only helped to reduce the increase of new cases but also helped to reduce the impact on hospitals.

The jury is still out on whether the December holiday celebrations would have factored in any way because the holiday season doesn’t really end after New Year’s Day, Friday.

In the title of the new year outlook

All health recommendations for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa apply to the New Year. This means that health officials recommend that people take a vacation at home and associate with other homes.

Intermountain Healthcare also described a New Year’s Eve ball as a styrofoam ball and a wooden dowel as a way to vacation at home in a fun and safe way.

Looking for a fun way to celebrate New Year’s Eve safely? Try to make your own ball dropping experience at home! #DIY # IMTNCovid19

Posted by Intermountain Healthcare on Sunday, December 27, 2020

Another infectious disease physician at Intermountain Healthcare, Vento’s associate, Drs. Eddie Stenzm said that last week he anticipated that the COVID-19 test would increase after New Year’s Day. One of the main reasons for this, he said, is that Utah colleges will begin their mass weekly tests of students living on campus for the spring semester.

Once initiated, positivity rates will be another important factor as test numbers may exceed previous test criteria.

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