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County COVID Count: Worst week 3 weeks running statewide and in 13 counties

Posted at 5:33 PM, Oct 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-13 19:56:45-04

SALT LAKE CITY — On this map, green is good, pink is bad and the thirteen counties in dark red all had their worst week of the pandemic.

Notice the diversity among those counties with their worst weeks including…

  1. mid-sized populations like Box-Elder, Tooele, Sanpete, Sevier and Uintah Counties.
  2. three of Utah's four biggest populations: Weber Davis and Salt Lake Counties,
  3. and even what appear to be outbreaks in small counties: Morgan, Juab, Piute and Wayne.

In fact with 12 new cases, Piute County had the highest new infection rate in the state. The entire county has about 1,700 residents, and before this week they had a total of ten cases reported.

You’ll also notice another small county, Garfield, had a bad week with 19 new cases in a population just over 5,000.

Our ten counties with populations between 20,000 and 100,000 tended to show lower rates of new infection than large and small counties. Yet five of the ten (as listed above) had their worst weeks. And Wasatch and Summit continue to see high numbers. As in recent weeks, counties performing poorly reflected well in comparison to counties performing terribly.

Speaking of counties performing terribly: the Big 6 Counties each with more than 100,000 residents did just that.

  1. Weber, Davis and Salt Lake had their worst weeks.
  2. Washington and Cache increased their numbers from the previous week, with Cache having its worst week since an outbreak at a meat packing plant in June.
  3. Utah County deserves credit for lowering their overall numbers for two weeks, but they’re still seeing more new infections as a portion of their population than the other big six.

By the way, I think these new criteria for the “Transmission Index” will be much easier to understand over time because they draw clear lines based on the data. That said, as a non-scientist, non-mathematician I was at first overwhelmed by all the “greater than or equal to” signs and decimal-laden metrics. But pushing through the initial fear…It seems to me to be about these three simple questions:

Is each county…

  1. …doing enough testing?
  2. …seeing too many new cases?

3. …are the state’s hospitals and ICUs filling up?

We’ll adapt our reports to make sure you have a clear picture of what’s happening regarding these questions each week.