Just a few weeks ago, Sevier County had no active confirmed cases of COVID-19. However, the county has added 15 cases to its total, now 28, since June 9. This includes the first hospitalization in Sevier County.
“We had quite a spike over the weekend,” said Mike Grimlie, public information officer for the Central Utah Public Health Department. “COVID is not over yet.”
There is a total of 77 cases in the CUPHD’s district, which represents a gain of 29 since June 9. Most of the new cases are in Sevier and Sanpete counties, with a pair of new infections confirmed in Millard.
Only Wayne County remains clear of any confirmed cases currently.
“We need to continue social distancing and wearing masks,” Grimlie said. “We still need to be diligent.”
Grimlie said the importance of a mask is more about protecting those around the wearer, not the wearers themselves.
“It’s a courtesy to those around you to wear one,” Grimilie said. He said most people are still not wearing masks when going to the store or being in a situation where social distancing is not possible.
“Just because you’re outside doesn’t mean it can’t spread to you,” Grimlie said.
The spread of the disease is also not limited to those with symptoms.
“You can be infected with it and not show symptoms until 10 days later,” Grimlie said. “But you might be spreading it five of those days.”
Part of the spike in infections may be linked to the reduced restrictions the state has implemented during the yellow phase, Grimlie said.
“If anything, we need to be more careful than we have been in the past,” Grimlie said. “There is more opportunity for it to spread as we comingle more.”
The explosion in coronavirus infections has hit Sevier County’s emergency services hard, as several of the new confirmed cases are emergency medical technicians, according to Sevier County Sheriff Nate Curtis. He said the infection point may have been a training class.
“We’ve been able to rearrange some things so there is still coverage,” Curtis said. He said the county’s EMS system developed a plan early on just in case an infection broke out. This may include having a deputy drive an ambulance while a reduced number of EMTs work on a patient.
However, for right now, Curtis said there is coverage for the county’s emergency needs.
He said while the county has plans in place, several EMTs and their families are now recovering in isolation from others.
“We’re going to be alright,” Curtis said. “It was just a matter of time before we would have to deal with this.”