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Officials encourage COVID-19 tests, masks, social distancing as case counts continue to rise

Posted at 5:12 PM, Sep 23, 2020

SALT LAKE CITY — The rate of COVID-19 positive test results continues to hit new highs in Utah.

Positive test rates reached an all time high at 14.2 percent Wednesday.

“That is extremely concerning and it just represents that the virus is circulating more,” said Intermountain Healthcare infectious disease physician Dr. Todd Vento.

The state numbers are boosted by Utah County where nearly 1 in 4 people tested for COVID-19 have the virus.

“If that number goes up you have a much bigger problem in the community and a higher risk of infection to others as they pass closely by each other, hang out with each other especially indoors,” said Dr. Vento said.

When positive test rates are high, experts say individuals with little or no symptoms could be slipping through the cracks and likely to infect others.

On Tuesday, State Epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn urged people to get tested, even when exhibiting one symptom.

“You must go get tested,” said Dr. Dunn. “This is the only way we will know where the spread of COVID-19 is and prevent unnecessary illness and deaths in our state.”

State leaders weigh case rates when determining COVID-19 restrictions. Provo and Orem were moved back to the ‘orange phase’ after reaching 20 percent. State health leaders said the ‘yellow phase’ is for rates lower than 10 percent and ‘green phase’ for rates lower than four percent.

Dr.Vento insists people wear masks, physically distance, and get tested if sick.

“The more it spreads, the more it hurts others,” said Dr. Vento.