The Southwestern Utah Public Health Department reported two new cases of COVID-19 in Iron County Tuesday, even as the rate of positive test results in Utah hit its highest level yet.
Over the past seven days 14 Iron County residents tested positive, according to SWUPHD.
Southern Utah University last reported that nine students, faculty and staff members had informed the school of positive test results from Sept. 3-9, bringing the total number of reported cases on campus to 17.
During that same period, 33 cases were announced by SWUPHD in the county.
Students returned to campus for in-person classes last Wednesday. Many courses have migrated online with lectures delivered via Zoom or through hybrids of face-to-face instruction and online coursework.
The school requires that students wear masks in classrooms and has installed cameras in every classroom so students who prefer to watch from home can. SUU President Scott L. Wyatt encouraged students to take SUU’s Stay Safe Pledge, asking students to pledge that they will limit social gatherings to small groups and receive the influenza vaccine and COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available.
Statewide, the percentage of positive test results was at 10.6% on Tuesday, up from Monday’s 9.8%. State Epidemiologist Angela Dunn has said that a low percent positive rate indicates that most infected people are being tested.
Dunn has previously explained that a 3% positivity rate indicates that the virus is under control.
Utah’s rate of positive tests has been above 5% since May 25, according to Utah Department of Health data. The previous high was 10.57 percent, on July 19.
The virus has spread quickly around the surrounding areas of universities nationwide, including in Utah County, which recorded 198 new cases Tuesday.
The Salt Lake Tribune notes that for the past seven days, Utah County has averaged 32 new cases a day per 100,000 people, compared to averages of 16 statewide and 16 in Salt Lake County.
The rise is concentrated around Provo, home to Brigham Young University. Provo has averaged more than 70 new daily cases per 100,000 residents; state health officials have said college-age young adults comprise the bulk of the county’s recent new cases.
SUU encourages students to stay home from class if they notice symptoms of COVID-19 and to go to Cedar City’s InstaCare to get tested for the virus.
Story by: Connor Sanders
Photo courtesy of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention