Utah is seeing evidence that social distancing and isolation efforts have paid off in flattening of the curve of COVID-19’s spread, according to state epidemiologist Angela Dunn in Monday's daily coronavirus update. But because of Utah’s low numbers, Dunn said the state will be more vulnerable if there is a second outbreak of the virus in the fall because of decreased herd immunity.
The state will begin a gradual reopening on May 1, but Dunn said there will be data collection and analysis with each relaxation of regulations to ensure the public is safe. If there is a resurgence of the virus in the fall, as has been seen with other strains of the coronavirus, Dunn said the state will see increased reliance on the public’s ability to social distance and self-isolate once again, even if restrictions are lifted over the summer.
Dunn said when there’s a decrease in the positive rate while testing numbers remain consistent, it can be seen as the downslope of the curve, and therefore safe to return to before-coronavirus activities. Right now, Utah’s numbers are holding steady at 5%. But she said the false positive rate is high at the moment and adds that a comprehensive analysis of the spread will rely heavily on antibody testing to determine individuals who have recovered from the coronavirus but may not have shown symptoms. Dunn said the state is currently working on a pilot program to open antibody testing to the public.