While it is still too soon to identify many of the overall trends for the coronavirus in Utah-- state epidemiologist Angela Dunn said in a press briefing on Tuesday that one trend is very clear-- rate at which tests are coming back positive.
“We've consistently had a 5% positive rate of all of those people we have tested,” Dunn said. “We don't really have hard scientific evidence as to why this is. But we do know that we've brought on more labs. And no matter if we test 1,200 a day, or 3,500 people a day, we still are consistently at a 5% positive rate. And this is a lower rate than some of our surrounding states.”
Dunn said this low rate could be because of social distancing measures that were implemented early on, like school closures or dine-in restrictions.
On Tuesday, the state also announced an increase of 63 cases in the state since Monday, for a total of 1,738 tests in Utah.
“What we need now and what Governor Herbert mentioned earlier, is that we need a drop in actual cases to happen,” Dunn said. “And in order to do that we're relying on you as individuals to adhere to the stay at home directive by Governor Herbert so that we can see the low testing rate, the low testing positive rate, translate into a lower number of cases every day.”
State officials have said they are working to increase test capacity in the state and Dunn said current capacity, of just over 4,000 tests a day, is not being reached at this time. She said hospitals are concerned about a potential swab shortage and efforts are being made to obtain more swabs.