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Southwestern Utah counted 25 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, the highest single-day increase for the region since officials started keeping daily counts in March.
The area has now seen 360 total cases, with the vast majority involving residents of Washington County.
In a release put out on Tuesday, representatives with the Southwest Utah Public Health Department said the region has been averaging about 11 new cases per day during the month of May.
While most people diagnosed with the virus are recovering, caution is still needed to protect those in the community who are most vulnerable, David Blodgett, health officer for the district, said in a written statement.
“In Utah, we have a 99% recovery rate for those infected with COVID-19”, he said. “However, people over age 60 or those with underlying health problems are more likely to have complications or be hospitalized. That’s why it’s so important for them to have limited contact with others and for the rest of us to keep things running while protecting them.”
Through Tuesday, the region had conducted 11,013 tests, with 3.3% of tests coming back positive. There were 209 people who counted as having officially recovered, meaning they had gone at least three weeks since being diagnosed.
Four people from the area have died.
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Although the southwest region, like much of the state, moved to the lower-risk “yellow” stage of a statewide plan for reopening during the pandemic, officials urged residents to continue practicing good perusonal hygiene and to follow social distancing guidelines, including the use of face masks when in public and unable to stay 6 feet away from others.
“We hope to see our case rates decrease in the near future as we continue social distancing, which remains our most important effort in dealing with the virus and keeping our vulnerable residents safe,” Blodgett said. “This is also a time for patience and tolerance as we deal the best we can with uncertainty.”
Utah coronavirus numbers
Statewide, there were 8,921 coronavirus cases as of May 28, an increase of 215 cases, said state Epidemiologist Angela Dunn during a press conference.
Additionally, as of May 28, over 200,000 Utahns have been tested, an increase of 20,633 from last week, with an average rate of 5% positive over the last week.
However, the average daily growth rate was at only 1.8%, and despite a total of 734 hospitalizations (an increase of 87 from the past week, 18 from yesterday) active hospitalizations were only at 97 (a decrease from 109 last week).
As of May 28, Utah had seen a total of 106 deaths due to COVID-19, Dunn said.
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During the press conference, Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox encouraged people to work together to combat the virus, arguing that politics shouldn’t factor in to how people practice the recommendations put out by public health officials.
“We will in all likelihood look back at this time as stressful and unsure,” he said. “(But) because Utah is truly exceptional, we can also take advantage of the many opportunities we have to serve and look back on this time that our hearts changed for the better.”
Kaitlyn Bancroft reports on faith, health, education, crime and under-served communities for The Spectrum & Daily News, a USA TODAY Network newsroom in St. George, Utah. You can reach her at KBancroft@thespectrum.com, or follow her on Twitter @katbancroft.
This article originally appeared on St. George Spectrum & Daily News: Southwest Utah has highest single-day increase in coronavirus cases