Nursing student Lia Smith helps with testing for COVID-19 conducted by the Salt Lake County Health Department in the parking lot of the Maverik Center in West Valley City on Sunday, Aug. 23, 2020. The free testing was set up for residents of Kearns, Magna, Taylorsville, West Valley City or the west side of Salt Lake City. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — New metrics released Thursday aim to help Utahns identify ways to further slow the spread of the novel coronavirus and keep Utah on track to better overall health and economic recovery.
“From day one, our priorities have been both centered on health as well as protecting our economy,” said Jess Anderson, commissioner of the Utah Department of Public Safety and leader of the state’s unified command efforts.
“Those priorities do not change,” he said, adding that focusing on the newly available scorecard, which will be updated weekly, will help Utahns to see their part in it.
“We as a community are responsible to work together to try to do the right things,” the newly appointed Utah Department of Health Executive Director Rich Saunders said on Thursday. “What we do today will affect generations for years to come … it’s important to understand that we’re trying to make that kind of a difference.”
The new accountability framework, as part of the Utah Leads Together program, released to the public via coronavirus.utah.gov/scorecard on Thursday, identifies two master goals of public health and economic health, as well as ways to get to full recovery.
“There are clear indications that Utah is on the right track,” said Utah House Speaker Brad Wilson. R-Kaysville. “Now is absolutely the time to redouble our efforts.”
Another 346 cases of COVID-19 were reported Thursday, bringing the state’s total number of infections to 56,019 since mid-March, though 47,545 of those have recovered without incident, according to the health department.
There have been 430 total deaths due to COVID-19 in Utah, including three new deaths reported Thursday.
Those deaths include a Davis County man and a Salt Lake County woman, both older than 85, and a Utah County woman between the ages of 45 and 64, all three of whom were residents at long-term health care facilities.
The rolling seven-day average for positive tests is 381 per day, with a rolling seven-day average for percent of positive laboratory tests of 9.1%. Both numbers are down slightly from a week ago, when the average number of cases was 394, with a 9.4% positivity rate, said state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn.
“When percent positivity is high, there’s a chance we’re not identifying all of our positive cases,” she said, adding that Utah needs to test more people to obtain a more accurate picture of the virus’ spread.
Dunn said efforts are being made to encourage more people to be tested, including offering less-invasive ways that provide quicker results.
“We’re not to the promised land yet, but if we continue the road we’re going, we’re going to get there,” Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said.
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Source:: Deseret News – Utah News