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Utah sees positive COVID-19 trends, but doctors warn not to get complacent

Posted at 5:42 PM, Jan 26, 2021

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah is beginning to see the COVID-19 positivity rate decline, according to data from the Utah Department of Health.

This is something many other states are seeing as well, coming off the holiday surge, according to Dr. Todd Vento, an infectious disease physician with Intermountain Healthcare.

READ: CVS, Walgreens to transfer doses of vaccine to other Utah providers

“You have seen a decrease across the board, you have seen a decrease in the percent positivity so that has shown that we probably are doing less gathering,” he said.

While this is good news, he admits, it is not a time to get complacent.

“We want to get excited about good news; who doesn’t? We have a vaccine that works, we have some better data about our numbers going down and we want to really get excited. And it's natural for us to say, 'Well good, we are coming out of it,'” he said.

Yes, people can be excited to see these trends, he said. But people should also take this time to really focus on what is working and what is helping to slow the spread. There are now several other, more contagious strands of COVID-19 that have been found around the world and some now in the U.S.

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Since the start of the pandemic, Erin Clouse, a strategic engagement manager at the University of Utah, began making visual graphs of COVID-19 data in Utah. Through this, she said she has learned a lot about the trends of COVID-19.

“I think the one takeaway for me that has really struck is how much we can kind of predict what is going to happen with the numbers, based on people being human,” she said.

White House advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci recently expressed wearing more than one mask could protect people better against the virus.

This comes as scientists are learning more about COVID-19 and the best ways to fight against it, Dr. Vento said. Each type of mask offers different layers of protection. Some thicker masks are likely better at preventing the spread of COVID-19 than a thin one, Dr. Vento said.

READ: Utah legislative committee shuts down when anti-mask activists show up

“So, you are essentially making an obstacle course, making it harder for virus aerosols to actually get through and around these corners and they get stuck on the filter material,” he said.

When people are in a crowded, indoor space with poor ventilation, they may want to wear two masks, Dr. Vento suggested.

CLICK HERE for the latest COVID-19 information in Utah.