SALT LAKE CITY — Utah now has the nation’s third-highest average daily coronavirus case rate, with the omicron variant pushing infection numbers in the Beehive State to their highest point in the pandemic.
The flood of cases has so overwhelmed the state’s testing system that Utah leaders have suspended the Test to Stay program at public schools. For the same reason, Gov. Spencer Cox’s administration is now asking people not to seek testing if they have COVID-19 symptoms and to isolate at home instead.
Health officials say, at least for now, an apparent plateau in new infections would likely signify a shortage of tests in Utah rather than a slowdown in disease spread.
Amid the surge, medical providers have limited eligibility for monoclonal antibody treatments because of dwindling supply, and University of Utah Hospital has had to close down 50 beds due to staffing shortages.
And making matters more complicated, it’s gotten harder over the past two years for state and local health officials to take action on containing disease spread — as Utah lawmakers frustrated by pandemic restrictions have redistributed the state’s emergency powers. In the wake of the changes, efforts to enforce mask orders have largely been undermined or overturned.
This article is published through the Utah News Collaborative, a partnership of news organizations in Utah that aim to inform readers across the state.