OGDEN – The new number of COVID-19 cases may soon begin to decline in Weber and Morgan counties, the chief of Weber-Morgan Health Department said.
Brian Cowan, the director of the department, quoted sewage test for the presence of the COVID-19 virus to Weber Center Sewer Improvement District, which serves much of Weber County, as well as trends related to the omicron variant of COVID-19 on the East Coast.
“What we’re seeing in the bioload in the wastewater is that maybe we’re starting to plateau,” Cowan told Weber County commissioners on Monday during his weekly COVID-19 update. 19.
He also noted trends in COVID-19 cases in the New York and New Jersey area, where the number of new cases is beginning to decline. If the experience in those places — hit earlier than Utah by the omicron rise — is any indication, Utah’s numbers may soon start falling as well.
“We’re seeing it’s about a four, four and a half week turnaround for a lot of areas where they have rapid omicron growth, and then it starts to come down,” he said. .
Locally, the omicron punch started around Dec. 28, he estimated, which means Weber and Morgan counties are nearing the four-week mark since it started having a serious impact. on the region. If the trend here parallels that of places like New York and New Jersey, “then maybe we are at or near the peak of our omicron infections. I hope. The last two weeks have been a wild ride,” Cowan said.
Assuming Utah’s experience parallels what happened on the East Coast, he said growth in COVID-19 cases could fall to pre-omicron levels from early December to mid- March.
The punch packed by omicron was outstanding. When the delta variant hit last fall, Weber and Morgan counties were collectively seeing about 1,200 new cases of COVID-19 per week. Over the past two weeks, as omicron cases have increased, Weber and Morgan counties have seen 10,775 new cases, or nearly 5,400 per week on average.
That said, the omicron variant, although it drew more people to the hospital, drew fewer people to the intensive care units. Most people hospitalized with COVID-19 – 81% of them – have not been vaccinated, he added.
Schools up and down the Wasatch Front have been grappling with an increase in cases, moving classes online in some cases to guard against the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Schools in the Ogden School District all went live last Friday and Monday. Elementary students will resume in-person learning on Tuesday.
Ogden and Ben Lomond High Schools and the district’s three high schools will, however, be back online on Tuesday, district officials said Monday. They worry about the number of lingering cases in schools.
Staying apart for five consecutive days, from last Friday through Tuesday, allows the district to reset the school’s COVID-19 case count in high schools to zero, in accordance with state guidelines, the district said. in a message to parents. This reduces the likelihood that schools will need to revert to online learning in the future.
In-person instruction at all five Ogden schools is due to resume on Wednesday.
Many schools in the Weber School District also moved classes online last week. A handful are continuing remote learning, Cowan said, including Roy High School and Roy and Sandridge High Schools.