SUU Reports Record Number of Cases on Campus as Statewide Surge Continues


Southern Utah University reported its highest number of new COVID-19 cases during a single week on Thursday after being notified of 15 new cases within the campus community.

The new cases were self-reported by students, faculty and staff from Oct. 22-28. The previous high came during the week of Sept. 3-9, when the school reported nine positive tests.

Since the school began reporting cases on Aug. 27, 73 people have tested positive for the coronavirus.

In Iron County, the Southwest Utah Public Health Department reported 18 new cases on Thursday. The southwest Utah health district, like the rest of the state, has experienced a surge over the last two weeks. SWUPHD reported another 120 cases in the district on Thursday.

The region had 1,499 active cases among residents. Through five days this week, there have been 481 cases in the region, on pace to pass last week’s mark of 540.

Iron County is the only county in the state at the “moderate” level of transmission. Masks are “strongly recommended” in places at the “moderate” level, according to the state’s health guidelines. Social gatherings of 25 people are permitted, and gatherings with more than 25 are allowed as well, as long as everyone wears masks.

At the state level, the Utah Department of Health reported 1,837 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday. UDOH also reported 10 new deaths and a record number of hospitalized patients with 317.

“We’re very concerned about the direction we’re going now. We could have a crisis of care if we don’t bend the curve. … The hospitals, frankly, can’t keep up,” said Gov. Gary Herbert at a Thursday news conference.

The uptick of cases over the last two weeks may force hospitals to shift to “crisis standards of care,” a set of guidelines doctors use to decide which patients get which level of care when the system is overcrowded.

The state has averaged 1,578 new positive test results a day over the past week as the streak of new record highs continues. 

For the second day in a row, double digit fatalities were reported in the state. Two of the deceased patients lived in the southwest health district: a woman aged 65-84 in Beaver County, and a Washington County man older than 84. The woman in Beaver was the first resident of her county to die from COVID-19.

Nationwide, the United States set a new single-day record with 80,622 new infections, according to the Center for Disease Prevention and Control. This is the first time that the country has reported more than 80,000 cases, and the third time in the last seven days that a new single-day record for new infections was set.

Story by: Connor Sanders
Photo by: Mitch Quartz