Cases of abused children dropped initially during the pandemic, but have sadly returned to normal

Reporting suspected child abuse and raising awareness of services available to help victims of abuse is the goal of a campaign underway in Utah and around the U.S. throughout the month of April. Photo courtesy of Prevent Child Abuse Utah.

LOGAN – During a Monday morning Intermountain Healthcare weekly virtual update Dr. Antoinette Laskey, division chief of child protection and family health for University of Utah Health, spoke to the media about what happened to abused children during the COVID-19 shutdown.

She said it is typical year after year for child abuse cases to stay steady. That was not so in 2020.

“All of a sudden, it seemed like the floor dropped out,” Dr. Laskey exclaimed. “We weren’t having any cases coming into the clinic. Our clinics got really quiet, which is frightening to us because we know that child abuse doesn’t just go away.”

Caregivers realized the reality was children were at home and didn’t have the safety net that was normally in place, like schools and others in their lives that might serve as caregivers, too.

Laskey said when in-person learning returned last fall, child abuse and teen sexual assault cases sadly started to return to normal. April is also known as National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Monday’s COVID numbers as reported by the Utah Department of Health included 200 new positive cases among the 2,695 people tested which is a 7.4 percent positivity rate. There were 10 new cases in northern Utah which were added to the 21,139  total cases in the Bear River Health District the last 13 months.

There were two new COVID-19 deaths reported Monday, a man and a woman, 45-64, who were both Weber County residents.

There have been 392,957 positive cases in Utah the last 13 months.

The state health department said 1,326 more vaccines were administered since Sunday and vaccinations in Utah now total nearly 1.9 million. Over 2.49 million Utahns have been tested as of Monday and there have been over 4.48 million total tests administered in the state.

The number of fully vaccinated Utahns is 791,734.

Statewide COVID-19 hospitalizations increased by five since Sunday to 138 while 54 of those are being treated for the virus are in intensive care units. That is one fewer than Sunday.

In Idaho there have been 184,950 confirmed coronavirus cases and 2,017 COVID-19 deaths. In the three southeast Idaho counties case counts include 1,167 positive cases in Franklin County, 376 in Bear Lake County and 353 in Oneida County.

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