Utah will soon close the majority of its state-sponsored COVID-19 testing locations and cease daily case reporting as cases continue to fall fast through spring.
Since Friday, health officials have documented 255 new COVID-19 cases, as well as four further deaths.
According to data, the state confirmed 112 cases on Friday, 87 instances on Saturday, and 65 cases on Sunday. After further study, nine previously reported instances were deleted from the case tally. School-aged children accounted for 32 of Monday’s new cases.
“As Utah moves toward a ‘steady state’ response to the epidemic, the Utah Department of Health will shift toward a more long-term, sustainable approach. Numerous (state health department-sponsored) testing centers are permanently closing, while others will be transferred to private, for-profit vendors “According to a statement released by the health department on Monday.
As of Monday, the rolling seven-day average of new cases each day was just 116 – a dramatic decrease from the pandemic high of 10,967 on Jan. 19. Positive tests are detected at a rate of 4.2 percent on a seven-day average, indicating that community transmission levels remain low. Currently, 102 persons have been hospitalized in Utah due to the coronavirus, an eight-fold drop from Friday.
Additionally, state health officials noted that on March 31, they will cease publishing fresh COVID-19 statistics on a daily basis. Then, on Thursdays, the coronavirus dashboard page at coronavirus.utah.gov/case-counts/ will be updated with new cases.
“This is comparable to the frequency with which data on other respiratory disorders, such as flu, are reported,” officials stated in a statement.
The “steady state” approach means that by the end of this month, Gov. Spencer Cox has stated, the pandemic response will be transferred to commercial health care systems.
“Let me be clear: This is not the end of COVID; rather, it is the beginning of treating COVID in the same way that we treat other seasonal respiratory viruses,” the governor remarked during a Feb. 18 news conference.
Officials believe testing is still a “critical tool” for residents who may require COVID-19 treatment. Anyone with “severe” underlying problems, or planning to see someone who is vulnerable, as well as health care workers and anyone who operate in communal settings, the health agency said Monday.
Individuals planning to go to locations that require a negative COVID-19 test should also seek testing, officials advised.
The state health department advises residents to visit coronavirus.utah.gov/utah-covid-19-testing-locations/ prior to visiting a testing location to ensure they have the most up-to-date information. Individuals looking for a specific test to meet travel criteria can do a test type search on the website.
After March 31, the state health agency will discontinue offering travel testing.