Weber County’s COVID-19 count rises, but mask’s warrant is not in sight | News, Sports, Jobs

Screenshot of the Weber County Commission online meeting

Weber-Morgan Health Department Director Brian Cowan in a screenshot of an online call on Monday, Jan.10, 2022, with Weber County Commissioners on the COVID-19 workload in the Weber and Morgan counties.

OGDEN – As across state and nation, the Number of COVID-19 cases in Weber and Morgan counties has increased considerably.

AT Fremont High School, among other schools in the Weber School District, the number of cases among students is increasingly approaching the test level to remain described in state law, when students should be tested negative for the virus can stay in school.

“When I look at the number of our cases, and if that’s the only thing I’m looking at, it looks pretty scary, frankly, with the rate at which the number of cases has increased,” Brian Cowan, director of the Weber-Morgan Health Service, said Monday.

That said, he’s not ready to push for a mandate in Weber and Morgan counties on the use of masks, as approved last week by officials in Salt Lake and Summit counties. Significantly, he said, the increase in the number of cases, largely caused by the omicron variant, does not lead to a corresponding increase in hospitalizations at the two local hospitals, McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden and the Ogden Regional Medical Center in Washington Terrace.

“We know we have maximized them to their capacity and have been straining them for several months now, but with the current situation, we are not adding any additional burden to hospitals,” he told the commissioners of the Weber County in their weekly COVID-19 report. Forty-nine COVID-19 patients were hospitalized in Weber County on Sunday and of the 30 intensive care unit beds at the two hospitals, 27 were occupied.

In recent times, calls to his office have increased from some members of the public seeking a warrant, Cowan said. But unless and until local hospitalizations start to increase along with the growing number of cases, he will stop asking for a mask warrant or some other sort of public health order.

Even so, some of the numbers are dramatic.

The latest seven-day daily case count – the number of new COVID-19 cases per day, on average over the past seven days – reached 477, a new high. The 2021 peak during the COVID-19 peak in late 2020 and early 2021 occurred on January 9, 2021, when the figure reached 278. Notably, the omicron variant, although more contagious than the variant delta, an earlier COVID-19 strain, doesn’t seem to affect most people as hard.

Fremont High School, Cowan said, now has 35 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and if it hits the 2% threshold – 42 cases, or 2% of the total student body – testing arrangements to stay on Senate Bill 107, approved last year, comes into force. In schools with fewer than 1,500 students, the threshold is 30 cases.

“Here at the health department, our staff, working with the school district staff, we are ready to kick off this test event to stay this week if we cross that threshold. We have everything in place to move forward as soon as we hit that number, ”said Cowan.

Schools that pass the test limit to stay are required to conduct COVID-19 testing of students. Students who subsequently test positive must stay home until the end of a period of isolation, according to the rules. Those not participating in the tests must self-quarantine at home for 10 days.

If the testing provisions to stay take effect, Cowan said, COVID-19 testing supplies would be directed from other testing facilities to affected schools. The lines have been long at some of the test sites here, which include a TestUtah site in the parking lot outside the Ogden Regional Medical Center.

There are currently 32 active COVID-19 cases among students at Roy High School, according to figures from the Utah Department of Health website, 1.7% of the student body and about five below the 2% threshold. Weber High School reports 31 active cases, representing 1.5% of the student body and about 11 cases below the cutoff.

There are 13 active cases at Ogden High School, the highest number among schools in the Ogden School District. That figure represents 1.2% of the student body, but since the total enrollment at Ogden High is less than 1,500, the threshold for testing arrangements to stay in school would be 30 cases.


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