Park City area on watch for coronavirus uptick, county health director says
The level of coronavirus detected in wastewater in Summit County has risen in recent weeks, a sign the virus is increasing locally as the fall arrives, the Summit County Health Department said on Monday.
Health Director Phil Bondurant said the level is “elevated” as compared to the average of the past several months. He said the number has either been level or increased slightly since the middle of August. He acknowledged the levels “might be ticking up.”
According to Bondurant, the numbers from wastewater treated at an East Canyon plant, which serves Park City, are on watch and increasing. The numbers tracked at a wastewater treatment plant serving the Coalville area had increased steadily since the middle of August but have since leveled off. No trends have been identified recently at a plant in Silver Creek.
Still, though, he said there has not been a recent uptick in coronavirus cases that have been reported to health officials or an increase in people hospitalized in Summit County with the sickness, he said.
The prospects of an impending increase in cases follow a busy stretch of late summer and then the Labor Day holiday weekend. The community appears to have remained busy after Labor Day as well, and fall oftentimes is a strong season for the tourism industry.
Bondurant, meanwhile, made an early projection about the winter, saying there are “the tools and knowledge necessary to have a normal winter moving forward.” The ski season is a crucial period for the tourism industry that is critical to the Park City-area economy and includes especially busy times during the holidays, the Sundance Film Festival, Presidents Day weekend and the stretch of spring break.
He noted the expected fall arrival of a vaccine that targets specific variants of the coronavirus and the number of people with natural immunity as a result of prior infections. Bondurant said people who contract the coronavirus also are more apt to remain home than at certain points in the past.
Bondurant is scheduled to deliver an update to Mayor Nann Worel and the Park City Council on Thursday. He anticipates addressing the coronavirus and the upcoming flu season. The appearance at the Marsac Building is also scheduled to touch on a speaker series designed to address climate change and public health.
Thirty minutes have been set aside for his remarks. It is likely the elected officials will have questions for Bondurant, but the mayor and City Council typically do not take public input during appearances like the one planned Thursday.
Public health in Utah is a function of counties and the state. City Hall works closely with Summit County health officials, however, on a variety of issues. The two government entities were both heavily involved during the worst periods of the pandemic.
The meeting on Thursday is scheduled to start at 4:45 p.m. at the Marsac Building. The meeting will also be broadcast online. More information is available on the municipal website, http://www.parkcity.org. The direct link to the meeting is: https://www.parkcity.org/Home/Components/Calendar/Event/39029/15.