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1716 more COVID-19 cases, 5 deaths reported in Utah Monday – KSL.com

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s number of COVID-19 cases has increased by 1,716 on Monday, with five more deaths reported, according to the Utah Department of Health.

The rolling seven-day average number of positive cases per day is now at 1,969, according to the health department. The positive test rate per day for that time period is now 24.4%.

Also Monday, state officials announced that Utahns ages 75 and older may receive the COVID-19 vaccine as early as mid-February under Phase 2 of Utah’s plan to distribute the vaccine.

New COVID-19 cases

The state now estimates there are 49,129 active cases of COVID-19 in Utah. The new numbers indicate a 0.6% increase in positive cases since Sunday. Of the 1,698,105 people tested for COVID-19 in Utah so far, 15.7% have tested positive for COVID-19. An additional 4,976 new people were tested for the disease as of Monday, and a total of 7,082 more tests were conducted, state data shows.

There are now 498 COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized in Utah, according to the health department. Of those, 168 are occupying intensive care unit beds across the state. About 79% of all ICU beds in the state are filled as of Monday, including about 83% of all ICU beds in Utah’s 16 referral hospitals, according to state data. About 43% of non-ICU hospital beds are filled as of Monday.

As of Monday, a total of 17,543 COVID-19 vaccines have now been administered, up from 16,992 doses administered Sunday.

The five deaths reported Monday were:

  • A Salt Lake 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 45 and 64 and was hospitalized when she died
  • A Davis County woman who was between the ages of 45 and 64 and was a resident of a long-term care facility
  • A Duchesne County man who was between the ages of 65 and 84 and was hospitalized when he died
  • A Washington County woman who was over the age of 85 and was a resident of a long-term care facility

Monday’s totals give Utah 266,590 total confirmed cases, with 10,643 total hospitalizations and 1,219 total deaths from the disease. A total of 216,242 Utah COVID-19 cases are now estimated to be recovered, according to the health department.

Vaccine Phase 2 plans announced

The Utah Department of Health announced details Monday for Phase 2 of the COVID-19 vaccine administration, which is expected to start in February. Utah’s COVID-19 Unified Command group adopted the health department’s recommendations for the second vaccine phase at the direction of Gov. Gary Herbert, according to a news release.

“We have seen older adults bear the most severe burden of disease in our state, and across the nation,” health department interim executive director Rich Saunders said in the release. “These individuals are far more likely to be hospitalized, to need intensive care, and to pass away from COVID-19. Ensuring these members of our community receive the vaccine as early as possible will save lives and help reduce the burden on our hospitals.”

Phase 1 of the vaccine distribution plan started earlier this month. Frontline health care workers, long-term care facility residents and staff, as well as public and tribal health care workers, are now being vaccinated in accordance with the plan.

K-12 teachers and first responders will be the next groups to receive the vaccine, likely in late January, the news release said.

People over 65 are much more likely to suffer severe effects of COVID-19. In Utah, 77% of all deaths from the disease so far were in people age 65 and older, the release said.

“As we move into Phase 2 of our vaccination program, it simply makes the most sense to vaccinate those who are at the highest risk for hospitalization and death first,” Herbert said. “We will continue to refine our plans, and to move forward under the principle that those who stand to suffer the most should be vaccinated first.”

Other groups that will receive the vaccine in Phase 2 have not been announced, according to the health department; however, Utahns will likely be further prioritized by age groups, the release said.

Utahns with underlying medical conditions and who live in certain “congregate settings” also may be vaccinated in Phase 2, the release said. The health department is no longer considering employment status or job type when prioritizing groups for the vaccine.

“Focusing on age will do more to reduce infections and alleviate hospitalizations than any other category of individuals as we continue to administer vaccinations,” Gov.-elect Spencer Cox said in the release. “I’m very supportive of this change and know it will save lives.”

When Phase 2 begins, people will receive the vaccine at mass vaccination clinics at local health departments. Later in Phase 2, the vaccines will be distributed through local pharmacies and primary care providers, the release said.

Further Phase 2 details, such as how vaccine clinics will verify ages of people seeking the vaccines, are yet to be determined. More information about Utah’s vaccination plans is available at coronavirus.utah.gov/vaccine.

There is not a COVID-19 news conference scheduled for Monday. Utah officials typically provide updates at news conferences once a week on Wednesdays or Thursdays.

Methodology:

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.

Referral hospitals are the 16 Utah hospitals with the capability to provide the best COVID-19 health care.

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.

For deaths that are reported as COVID-19 deaths, the person would not have died if they did not have COVID-19, according to the health department.

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.

More information about Utah’s health guidance levels is available at coronavirus.utah.gov/utah-health-guidance-levels.

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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Jacob Klopfenstein

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