Longer wait times for COVID-19 tests as surge continues, Southern Utah hits new record with a caveat

A saliva-based COVID-19 test is demonstrated at the Intermountain Healthcare Southridge Clinic in Riverton, Utah, on an unspecified date. | Photo courtesy of Intermountain Healthcare, St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY — As COVID-19 cases go up, so do the number of tests needing to be done in the state of Utah.

Salt Lake County Health Department public health nurses look on during coronavirus testing outside the Salt Lake County Health Department Nov. 12, 2020, in Salt Lake City, Utah. | Photo by Rick Bowmer, Associated Press

And those new infections continue to go up, as both Southern Utah and the state set new highs for new infections on Saturday.

Those new numbers come with the caveat that because of technical difficulties with the Utah Department of Health’s overwhelmed COVID-19 reporting system, the Saturday numbers include a backlog of new infections from Friday.

Also overwhelmed are COVID-19 testing centers statewide. According to Fox13Now.com, different testing locations across Utah are facing different things, from lack of appointments to long wait times.

FOX 13 reached out on their social media pages and found a lot of people experiencing similar things such as: “Testing sites were scheduled days out or didn’t have any available times to test” and “Just tried today. Only thing for the next week is in [Park City], 36 hours later.”

Others said they had little issues with testing, but a large number of people within the last two weeks FOX13 spoke with experienced some issues.

One of them was Jordan Ferguson.

“We were told that it was a long line, but it ended up taking about three hours,” he said.

More than 350 new infections, 2 deaths in Southern Utah

With the caveat that the number includes cases from Friday, the Utah Department of Health said reported 362 new infections in Southern Utah on Saturday — the most in one day.

The were two additional deaths reported, both Washington County residents 65- to 84-years old who were hospitalized at the time of their deaths.

The Southwest Utah Public Health Department did not release county-by-county information on Saturday, but the Utah Department of Health said there are now 2,800 people currently infected with the coronavirus in Southern Utah, or nearly two out of every 100 people.

Graphic showing 10 days with the most coronavirus cases in Southern Utah through Nov. 14, 2020. | Background photo by by
mbz-photodesign, iStock/Getty Images Plus; Infographic by Chris Reed, St. George News | Click to enlarge

With the same disclaimer about including cases from Friday, the state reported 5,352 new infections statewide on Saturday. But even without the approximately 1,300 cases from Friday, the more than 4,000 new infections statewide reported would be a one-day high since the start of the pandemic.

Reports from media sources in the Salt Lake City area report that contingency surge intensive care unit at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Utah had filled to capacity Friday night. Like Dixie Regional Medical Center, the Murray hospital had to activate a surge ICU earlier in the month after the main ICU was full.

Terri Draper, spokeswoman for Dixie Regional Medical Center, said “not yet” as to whether the local hospital has also reached capacity in both of its ICUs. However, she said unless something changes with the behavior of those ignoring COVID-19 preventative efforts and mandates, the St. George hospital is destined to share the same fate as the hospital up north.

“The volumes pressure on our hospital is high right now. If we do not all come together to do everything we can to socially distance, masking when within six feet of each other, socializing only with those in our own households and promoting good hygiene, it is not likely we will be able to avoid crisis care here,” Draper said.

Read the full story here:  Fox13Now.com.

Written by SPENCER JOSEPH, Fox13Now.com.

Weekend Editor/reporter Chris Reed contributed to this story.

COVID-19 information resources

St. George News has made every effort to ensure the information in this story is accurate at the time it was written. However, as the situation and science surrounding the coronavirus continues to evolve, it’s possible that some data has changed.

We invite you to check the resources below for up-to-date information and resources.

Southern Utah coronavirus count (as of Nov. 14, 2020, seven-day average in parentheses)

Positive COVID-19 tests: 8,307 (186.9 new infections per day in seven days, rising since Nov. 12)

Deaths: 66 (0.9 per day, rising)

  • Washington County: 55  (3 new since last report: Hospitalized male 65-84, hospitalized male 65-84, hospitalized female 65-84.)
  • Iron County: 4 
  • Garfield County: 5
  • Kane County: 1
  • Beaver County: 1 

Hospitalized: 41 (rising)

Active cases: 2,800

Current Utah seven-day average: 2,957 (rising)

Copyright 2019, KSTU. A Tribune broadcasting station

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!