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Utah sees 144 new cases of COVID-19, 1 new death

Utah sees 144 new cases of COVID-19, 1 new death


Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s number of COVID-19 cases has increased by 144 from Sunday with one new reported death, according to the Utah Department of Health.

Monday’s totals give Utah 3,213 confirmed cases, with 268 hospitalizations and 28 total deaths from the disease. Previously, there were 3,069 cases in the state.

The new numbers indicate a 4.7% increase in positive cases since Sunday. Of the 68,311 people tested in Utah so far, 4.7% tested positive for COVID-19.

The total number of cases reported by the health department includes all cases of COVID-19 since Utah’s outbreak began, including those who are infected now, those who have recovered from the disease and those who have died.

The death reported Monday occurred the Bear River Health District in northern Utah, according to Utah Department of Health state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn. The man who died was older than 60, had underlying health conditions and was hospitalized when he died, she added.

The vast majority of Utah deaths have been among people who are older than 60 and had underlying health conditions, Dunn said.

Dunn discussed the current coronavirus situation in the state at the daily Utah Department of Health press conference on Monday afternoon. Watch the replay of the event below.

This week, health department officials plan to focus on why some populations of Utahns are bearing a larger burden of the disease than other groups, Dunn said.

In Utah, about 30% of COVID-19 cases are among Hispanic people, despite them making up just 14% of the state's population, according to health department and U.S. Census data.

"Health inequities are an unfortunate part of our society and this pandemic is definitely bringing them to the forefront," Dunn said. "And it's going to take a team to appropriately address them."

Health officials will begin working with local health districts and community organizations that serve populations that have been disproportionately affected by the disease, Dunn said. They will study why there are barriers to care, testing and isolation for those populations, she added.

Officials hope to adopt a "community health worker" model to make sure Utah communities get the care and services they need, Dunn said.

Though the number of daily new cases has jumped back up to over 100 each day for the past several days, Dunn said she is still hopeful that Utah is seeing its pandemic curve start to flatten.

The number of new cases seen each day often mirrors the amount of tests conducted, Dunn said. Since there were lower numbers of testing some days last week, there were fewer new cases. There have been more tests conducted over the past four or five days, so that likely explains the increased numbers of new cases, Dunn added.

The state reported 4,756 tests conducted between Sunday and Monday.

What officials really want to see before saying definitively that the curve is indeed flattening is a consistent drop in the rate of positive tests for COVID-19, Dunn said. That rate continues to hold at about 5% positive among tests conducted in Utah.

Dunn said she wants to see the steady trend continue for at least another week before determining that the curve has started to flatten in Utah.

Antibody testing will also help health officials determine how far the disease has spread in Utah, Dunn said. Such tests can show whether or not a person has antibodies present in their body that indicate they have been exposed to COVID-19.

The health department is working with the University of Utah and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to be able to start antibody testing in the state within the next few weeks, Dunn said.

"Increased access to testing, again, is a key to stopping this outbreak," she said.

State leaders want to make sure that if some social distancing measures are lifted, they can be easily reinstated if Utah begins seeing another spike in cases, Dunn said.


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