Utah has reported more than 1,000 new cases of the disease for six out of the last seven days as the state continues struggling to contain a new spike in the pandemic.
The health department now estimates there are 20,661 active cases of the disease in Utah — the highest estimate so far and the third day in a row the active case estimate has been over 20,000. The rolling seven-day average number of positive cases per day is now at 1,044, according to the health department. The positive test rate per day for that time period is now 13.8%.
The new numbers indicate a 1.3% increase in positive cases since Tuesday. Of the 881,440 people tested for COVID-19 in Utah so far, 9.1% have tested positive for COVID-19. The health department reported an increase of 5,839 tests conducted as of Wednesday.
The current COVID-19 spike in Utah is thought to have originated in Utah County, specifically among college-aged young people in Provo and Orem. While the spread of the virus is showing signs of slowing down in Utah County, it’s spreading in other areas, Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox said Wednesday.
“(T)he spread of the virus remains far too high in Utah,” Cox said in a tweet. “While Utah Country rates are finally dropping, Salt Lake County and others are climbing. And, even though this surge was college driven, as predicted it has spread to older people.”
Folks, I’m not on twitter as much lately, but the spread of the virus remains far too high in Utah. While Utah Country rates are finally dropping, Salt Lake County and others are climbing. And, even though this surge was college driven, as predicted it has spread to older people. https://t.co/dNdD4l6s73
— Spencer Cox (@SpencerJCox) October 7, 2020
Cox repeated the message that state leaders have said dozens of times in the last six months: Utahns should continue wearing masks and socially distancing. If possible, gatherings should be limited to smaller groups, shorter times and outdoor settings, Cox added.
Brigham Young University said Wednesday the seven-day rolling averages of new cases and active cases on its campus have decreased.
“The recent efforts of students, faculty and staff have been effective in slowing the spread of COVID-19 within our campus community,” the university said in a series of tweets. “We are grateful to each of you for your positive response. It is vital that we maintain these efforts and behaviors to prevent another spike and to continue the decrease in active cases.”
5/ Early in this semester we saw firsthand how easily COVID-19 can spread and how quickly case counts can increase. The recent efforts of students, faculty and staff have been effective in slowing the spread of COVID-19 within our campus community.
— BYU (@BYU) October 7, 2020
There are now 226 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in Utah, according to state data. That includes 87 in intensive care unit beds across the state. About 72% of all ICU beds in the state are filled, and about 53% of non-ICU beds are occupied as of Wednesday, the health department reported.
The increasing number of hospitalizations is starting to put a strain on Utah’s health care systems, especially with staffing, Cox said. He pointed to news Wednesday that Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers had activated a 530-bed field hospital as a reminder of what might be coming in Utah if hospitalization rates don’t slow soon.
“And, sadly, we are now seeing increased fatalities,” Cox said. “The Wisconsin announcement should be a sobering reminder as Utah isn’t far behind in infection rates.”
The eight deaths reported Wednesday were:
- A Washington County woman who was over the age of 85 and was a resident of a long-term care facility,
- A Utah County woman who was between the ages of 65 and 84 and was hospitalized when she died,
- A Millard County woman who was over the age of 85 and was not hospitalized when she died,
- A Utah County woman who was over the age of 85 and was a resident of a long-term care facility,
- A Salt Lake County woman who was over the age of 85 whose hospitalization status is unknown,
- A Salt Lake County man who was between the ages of 45 and 64 and was hospitalized when he died,
- A Salt Lake County man who was between the ages of 65 and 84 and was hospitalized when he died, and
- A Salt Lake County woman who was between the ages of 65 and 84 and was hospitalized when she died.
Wednesday’s totals give Utah 80,446 total confirmed cases, with 4,113 total hospitalizations and 496 total deaths from the disease.
There is not a COVID-19 news conference scheduled for Wednesday. Utah Gov. Gary Herbert is expected to speak at a news conference Thursday at 11:30 a.m.
Test results now include data from PCR tests and antigen tests. Positive COVID-19 test results are reported to the health department immediately after they are confirmed, but negative test results may not be reported for 24 to 72 hours.
The total number of cases reported by the Utah Department of Health each day includes all cases of COVID-19 since Utah’s outbreak began, including those who are currently infected, those who have recovered from the disease, and those who have died.
Recovered cases are defined as anyone who was diagnosed with COVID-19 three or more weeks ago and has not died.
Deaths reported by the state typically occurred two to seven days prior to when they are reported, according to the health department. Some deaths may be from even further back, especially if the person is from Utah but has died in another state.
The health department reports both confirmed and probable COVID-19 case deaths per the case definition outlined by the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists. The death counts are subject to change as case investigations are completed.
Data included in this story primarily reflects the state of Utah as a whole. For more localized data, visit your local health district’s website.
Information is from the Utah Department of Health and coronavirus.utah.gov/case-counts. For more information on how the Utah Department of Health compiles and reports COVID-19 data, visit coronavirus.utah.gov/case-counts and scroll down to the “Data Notes” section at the bottom of the page.
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1,007 more COVID-19 cases, 8 deaths reported Wednesday in Utah /p>