Fatalities From COVID Remain Steady At 13; Statewide Testing Expands

Utah Department of Health released new COVID-19 case numbers Thursday afternoon. The number of fatalities has remained steady all week at 13.

Total cases confirmed statewide are 1,976 which is an increase of 130 cases from Wednesday.  There are 168 COVID patients who are hospitalized.

The Summit County case count is 289, which is an additional 16 cases from Wednesday’s count. 24 have been hospitalized as of Thursday which is an increase of three.

Wasatch County reports 88 cases which is up six from the day before. There are five who are hospitalized which is one more than Wednesday.

The Utah Department of Health says 38,373 people have been tested statewide. Utah State Epidemiologist Dr.  Angela Dunn announced that statewide testing supplies and lab capacity is ready to handle more.

“We now have the capacity statewide to test all patients who have symptoms consistent with COVID-19. So if you have a patient who has fever or cough or shortness of breath and you think they might have COVID-19, we have the capacity to test them, and we want you to send them for testing.”

Dunn says the state public health department is working with Healthcare organizations across the state.

“We have great partnerships with ARUP, the University of Utah, Intermountain and Test Utah.com and other health care systems across the state that have given us the ability to increase our testing to about four to 5,000 Utahn’s per day. And we have now the supplies in state to be able to conduct these tests so we want anybody who has symptoms consistent with COVID-19 to seek out testing and they can do that by going to our website coronavirus.utah.gov or calling the information hotline.”

Dr. Dunn declined to explain the details of how the state was able to acquire more testing supplies.

“What changed that allowed you to get those increased supplies?”

Dr. Dunn responded, “Sure, so working with our Governor’s office and the Lieutenant Governor’s task force, we had some really innovative people who were able to make connections to be able to secure supplies necessary for us to be able to test all the Utahn’s who need testing for COVID-19. So again, we’re very fortunate in our state to be able to offer that to anybody who has symptoms.”

For those who can’t get to a testing site, the department of health has mobile vans that can travel on a case by case basis to bring COVID testing to those patients.

Call 801-587-0712 before visiting the hospital. Toll Free 844-745-9325.

Read the original story at KPCW.org

Heber Valley Artisan Cheese held their 2nd annual Ice Sculptures Exhibition this weekend. Several local businesses sponsored the sculptures being displayed. There were also two different ice carving demonstrations. The event was free to the public.

The annual event began last year when Carolee Kohler saw ice sculpting on a Hallmark movie and thought it would be a fun idea for their farm. They are also considering a woodcarving event.

According to Lindsey Strother, social media and events coordinator, each sculpture takes between 1-3 hours to carve. “We contacted Amazing Ice Creations back in November, and we reached out to local companies to sponsor the ice sculptures,” she said. “Yesterday morning around 9 am, they came in a massive truck and dropped them all off for us, and we set them up.”

Along with the ice sculptures, sponsors receive a sign and canopy for the display and social media marketing. The sponsors decide what they want to have sculpted. After the event, they can take the ice sculptures and display them at their businesses. The creations normally last a couple of weeks. Some will be left in the field and can be viewed throughout the week.

The ice this year included Olaf, company logos, animals, and other items. Darron Kingston, the sculptor, has carved ice for over 10 years with his dad. According to Kingston, “I like sculptures that give me a challenge. Here, for example, my favorite was the lumberjack.” One of his favorite past creations was a 9-foot bear.

Grant Kohler, owner of Heber Valley Artisan Cheese, explained, “We decided to do something that was free and something that people could just get out and come and enjoy. Especially this year with Covid, it seems like Januarys are slow months. People are looking for things to be able to get outside and do.” He continued, “Businesses pay in and buy the sculptures, we have them sculpted, and then we just let people come and enjoy them.” Kohler estimated around 3,000 to 4,000 people will stop by the event.

The dairy farm also offers cheese-making classes and tours of their new robotic barn. “The tours are everyday except Sunday,” according to Kohler. “People hayride over, intermingle with the cows, see the barn and amenities, and watch the cows be milked. The cows will literally go get milked on their own.” Tickets for the tours and other events are available on the Heber Valley Artisan Cheese website: https://hebervalleyartisancheese.com/.