File photo of Isaac Hale, Daily Herald
The streets of Park City already look busier than they did a few weeks ago. And with the Sundance Film Festival returning, tourists are pouring into town, further adding to the congestion.
The event, which will be the first in-person festival since 2020, is likely to draw celebrities and crowds, but coronavirus could also make an appearance.
Summit County health officials anticipate an increase in respiratory illnesses such as COVID, influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), with more people traveling to the community, but are taking extra precautions. If so, most people don’t need to worry.
“I think this year will continue to have the same ups and downs as previous years. I think we will see the ups and downs of this flu and the cold season and the COVID that is starting to find seasonality, just like the ski season and long distance visitors. ”said Nancy Porter. An epidemiologist working for the Summit County Health Department said: “We’ll keep an eye on it, but I don’t think anything out of the ordinary will come from one event.”
Sundance organizers in August outlined the COVID safety measures that would be in place as they prioritized creating spaces where communities could watch movies together in a hybrid setup. This included requiring all staff and volunteers working at the festival to wear masks and undergo her weekly COVID test. Festival-goers are also required to wear masks in all Sundance spaces and to test negative before attending the event. Attendance for COVID-19 vaccination is not required, but is recommended. Sundance Labs will also work with the COVID-19 safety team to ensure that all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines are met.
File photo of Isaac Hale, Daily Herald
Resources such as tests, vaccines and other treatments have allowed Summit County to keep community spread low. Citizens also play a role.
“What we are really seeing is that action continues to be very important,” said Deputy Health Director Sherry Worley. “We encourage people to check if they have the disease and avoid traveling or going out in public. Masks are still available and recommended to be used. And Please be happy to follow the precautions that have been recommended all along, not only for COVID, but for flu, RSV, and everything else circulating this winter.”
Three respiratory illnesses spiked across the county before the holidays, but recent data compiled by Porter show a 50% drop in all cases. There have been 63 confirmed COVID cases in the last two weeks, compared with more than 100 in the previous 14 days.
The Department of Health’s new respiratory disease dashboard, which tracks flu and RSV cases dating back to 2019, also shows a downward trend from before Christmas. In the week of 22 December, 97 cases of influenza and 28 cases of RSV were reported. This week, 37 cases of influenza and 14 cases of RSV were confirmed.
Porter says some of the decline may be due to testing delays, but it’s also possible that “things are starting to slow down.” % remains below. Health officials are also monitoring wastewater data, which show increases that correlate with holiday trends.
Arthur Mora, Invision via AP
COVID, flu and RSV cases could rise in the coming weeks as people are expected to flood Park City for Sundance. However, county health officials do not expect a significant increase or surge. Instead, the number of cases is expected to fluctuate throughout the rest of the winter season, but we shouldn’t reach the same high levels of her COVID in 2020 or 2021.
Wally called on communities to take advantage of tests, home kits, vaccines, boosters and personal protective equipment provided through health departments to reduce the spread of respiratory viruses. Flu numbers in 2020 were significantly lower due to precautions put in place for his COVID, such as masks and social distancing.
“We go through a cycle of ebb and flow during the winter. It fluctuates when people come in. That’s what the health department is aware of,” she said. “We’re not just focusing on COVID, we’re focusing on everything we have regarding the cold and flu season.”
The Ministry of Health will continue to promote community messages to protect against illness, including washing hands, staying out of public when feeling unwell and tips to avoid ‘nice lists’. .
Many respiratory diseases are similarly spread by coughing, sneezing, or close contact with an infected person. Symptoms are similar, with some people experiencing fever, fatigue, coughing, shortness of breath, runny or stuffy nose, and body aches.
Worley acknowledged that the coronavirus remains a concern and should be taken seriously, but some groups, such as young children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems, are at greater risk. She said each individual should assess their own risks and take necessary precautions to protect themselves and their loved ones.
“COVID remains a concern. It is something we are adapting to and learning to live with. And it’s something that comes up and you have to learn how to navigate through it,” said the deputy health director.
Porter also expects some new COVID variants reported on the East Coast to continue west and potentially reach Summit County. There is usually a two-week delay in the appearance of variants, she said. Porter says bivalent boosters and antivirals, which came out in September, are effective against the latest strain of COVID, but monoclonal antibodies are less effective.
Health departments offer vaccinations for several viruses. Flu shot and bivalent COVID booster available every Tuesday and Thursday from 8:30am to 11:00am and from 1:00pm to 5:30pm and every Monday from 8:30am to 11:00am and available from 1:00 pm to 5:30 pm. Until Thursday in Park City and every Tuesday and Wednesday in Kamas from 8-11am and 1-5:30pm until supplies run out.
Tests are also available on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11am to 4pm at the Round Valley/Quinns Junction Office at 650 Round Valley Drive in Park City. Call 435-333-1500 for more information.
Sundance is scheduled for January 19-29 in Park City and Salt Lake City, with in-person and online screenings nationwide on January 24, as well as panel discussions and other special events. increase.