COVID-19 Early Detection Levels

Updated 8/4/2022

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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Omicron subvariant and increasing BA.4 and BA.5

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

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Continued high case trends in multiple countries.

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

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Increasing cases in many U.S. states.

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

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Multiple sites have increasing trends.

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

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ER visits for COVID-19 continue to increase.

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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COVID-19 case counts and percent positivity continue to increase.

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.