Weekend rate of new coronavirus cases stays high in Southern Utah, though new data is incomplete

Photo illustration of COVID-19 coronavirus. | Photo by Jakub Rupa/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The rate of positive COVID-19 coronavirus cases continued a weekend spike in Southern Utah, though information from the local health department was missing some information.

A motorist comes up to an Intermountain Healthcare drive-thru coronavirus testing site in an undisclosed location. Undated photo | Photo courtesy Intermountain Medical, St. George News

The Southwest Utah Public Health Department reported nine new positive cases in Southern Utah Sunday, which would tie for the second most in one day after 17 new cases were reported Saturday.

The department reported no additional tests in its tally of completed COVID-19 tests among local residents.

David Heaton, spokesperson for the Southwest Utah Public Health Department, said there is an explanation how there can be new positive tests for COVID-19 but no new tests.

“There are new tests occurring daily but we sometimes don’t get a report every day, hence the disclaimer on our webpage ‘as of last report received,’ Heaton said. “The report tomorrow would include those.”

Local officials have said increased number of tests and higher availability is the reason for the increasing number of positive tests in Southern Utah. However, other health officials in the state capital have said an increased number of tests isn’t the sole cause of an increased case rate as the percentage of positive tests doesn’t depend on how many tests there are.

The department also did not release where four of the new cases came from, saying they came from an undetermined county. The other five cases came from Washington County. The Southwest department also reported three cases from an unspecified area on Thursday, but all three cases were later determined to be from Washington County.

Data from the Utah Department of Health shows the to case rates in the last two weeks in individual cities in Southern Utah as of May 10, 2020. Arrows indicate weather a city has moved up a rate tier, gone down or stayed the same. Click to expand. Infographic by Chris Reed, Photo illustration by Pixabay, St. George News

Also, Southern Utah was an outlier this weekend as far as an increase in the rate of cases compared to the rest of the state. The total overall rate in Utah remained steady this weekend. Southern Utah – and more specifically Washington County and the city of St. George – joined San Juan County in seeing a substantial increase.

Even more specifically, new figures from the Utah Department of Health Sunday show St. George is now the only city besides the Navajo reservation in San Juan County south of Provo to be in the moderate-high or higher range for cases. Washington City also saw a level increase in cases this weekend, while Santa Clara and Ivins City moved into a lower tier of positive case rate.

Overall, Southern Utah saw its case total increase by 18% this weekend and 31% since Wednesday, with 92-98% of those cases in Washington County.

Hospitalizations remain at three from Southern Utah, though Dixie Regional Medical Center has additional coronavirus patients from nearby towns in Nevada and Arizona. A little over half of those who have had the virus in the area are now virus-free.

COVID-19 information resources

Southern Utah coronavirus count (as of May 10, 2020)

Positive COVID-19 tests: 164 (9 new), with 91 recoveries (0 new).

  • Washington County: 125 (5 new)
  • Iron County: 29 
  • Garfield County: 3
  • Kane County: 3
  • Beaver County: 0
  • Unspecified location: 4 (4 new)

Deaths: 3

  • Washington County: 2 
  • Iron County: 1

Hospitalized: 3

Tested: 7,732 (0 new tests)

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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