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Utah's COVID-19 cases, deaths rising despite State of Emergency restrictions

Posted at 10:55 PM, Nov 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-21 01:01:10-05

SALT LAKE CITY — A public health expert says Gov. Gary Herbert’s State of Emergency has not been enough to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“It’s disappointing but not unexpected,” said Intermountain Healthcare infectious disease physician Dr. Eddie Stenehjem.

Tests show more than 57,000 Utahns currently have COVID-19. Nearly 4,500 new cases were announced Friday.

“It’s really hard to know what would have happened if we hadn’t put in those mandates, but I think what you can say that it hasn’t worked well enough. We had hoped we would have seen a decrease in cases,” said Dr. Stenehjem.

With the current trajectory, Dr. Stenehjem believes the end of the year will be the most challenging for Utah during the pandemic both in hospitalizations and deaths.

“We know that the worst is going to come in the next two months just looking at our current numbers," he said.

The CDC forecasts up to 500 more Utahns could die from COVID-19 complications in the next month.

At the current rate, Dr. Stenehjem predicts overrun hospitals and overworked staff will be unable to provide the same level of care.