State Department of Health COVID-19 Updates, Press Conf., Tuesday, March 24

Mar 24, 2020

Cases of the coronavirus in Utah have increased by 14 percent since Monday. As of 1 p.m. on Tuesday, there were 298 confirmed cases of the virus.

State epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn said during the press conference on Tuesday that although the number of new cases was smaller than it has been in past days, it is important to know there is a data lag and this lower number does not mean the case count is decreasing yet. She also said social distancing measures are still essential. 

"We don't have a vaccine. We don't have a treatment," Dunn said. "So the only way to stop the spread of COVID-19 is to ensure that people aren't gathering in mass gatherings, that they are staying home they are sick."

Reportedly, 5,823 people have been tested for the coronavirus in Utah. According to the state coronavirus website,  private and public laboratories in Utah are now reporting both the number of positive and negative tests that are happening in the state.

On Monday evening, Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox announced that testing in Utah should be increasing to about 2,000 tests a day. In a video on Twitter on Monday evening, Cox said  this means the criteria for who can be tested will be expanding. 

"Before we could only test those who were in the hospital, our healthcare workers, the  elderly in our long term care facilities and people who had had direct exposure," Cox said in the live-stream message. "Now we can start testing everyone who has symptoms. And so that's a big change."

Dunn said during the press conference that this increased testing will help with understanding the spread in the state and identifying where resources need to be used to reduce the spread.

Other updates on Tuesday included that in an effor to preserve personal protective equipment, all non-essential medical procedures in the state would be restricted for the next month.

The rest of Tuesday's updates can be found here. 

The full press release can be watched here.