COVID-19 Early Detection Levels

Updated 11/30/2022

This tool highlights trends in our different COVID-19 detection systems prior to significant case increases or increases in patients in the hospital systems. It is a supplement to the CDC Community Levels and can be used when COVID-19 spread is increasing but still at low levels. The system uses a scale from 0-4, with 0 meaning there are no metrics suggesting cases will increase in the near future, while 4 means the metrics suggest cases will increase in the near future. Once a 4 is reached, we recommend checking the CDC Community Levels to know what actions may need to be taken to reduce the risk of COVID-19. 

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Check CDC community levels for your county when level 4 is reached.

Glossary, indicator and current status

New VOC or emerging variant
Detection of a variant that is related to or expected to cause an increase in transmission, cases, or severity.

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There are multiple variants of concern with mutations that allow them to avoid treatment as well as increase transmission (e.g. BQ.1, BQ.1.1, XBB, BN.1). However no specific variant is dominating at this time.

Concerning trends world wide
Increasing transmission, cases, or severity internationally.

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Multiple countries with fluctuations and increases but no significant waves.

Concerning trends in U.S.
Increasing transmission, cases, or severity in the U.S.

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Increases and fluctuations present in some states but no significant waves.

Concerning trends in Utah wastewater
Three or more wastewater sites in Utah that are at or above the normal range.

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The pattern we have been seeing for several weeks persists: levels are now elevated nearly universally and continue to rise at a number of them. One third of sites (32%) have increasing trends, and nearly all sites (97%; 33 of 34) have levels in the Elevated category. (Last Updated: 11/30/2022)

Concerning trends in Utah syndromic surveillance
An increase over time of emergency room visits for COVID-19.

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We continue to see the statewide 7 day average of the percent of ED visits related to COVID in an increasing trend at 4.1%. Increasing trends are seen in 9 of 13 LHDs which include Central, Davis, Salt Lake, San Juan, Southwest, Tooele, TriCounty, Utah County, and Weber-Morgan. (Last Updated: 11/30/2022)

Concerning trends in Utah cases or % positivity
An increase of COVID-19 cases or the percent positivity is greater than or equal to 10% of people being tested.

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The statewide three day incidence continues to be in an increasing trend since 10/15/22. Percent positivity (person/person) has slightly increased since the last update going from 19.46% on 11/20/2022 to 20.62% as of 11/27/2022. (Last Updated: 11/30/2022)

Use of different systems

Best used when:
There are low levels of COVID-19 in a community.

Best used to:
Detect changes before there is a significant impact on a community.

Best used when:
There are medium or high levels of COVID-19 in a community.

Best used to:
Guide prevention approaches for people in high-risk settings.

Best used when:
There are high levels of COVID-19 in a community.

Best used to:
Inform the general public when and how to protect themselves from COVID-19.


The CDC Community Levels tool uses data to identify when a community is facing a lower, moderate, or high risk from COVID-19. The CDC Community Levels tool is less sensitive than the Early Detection System shown here, and should be used as a guide to what protective behaviors are most appropriate.