Steve Griffin, KSL, File

264 new coronavirus cases in Utah Sunday, health department says

By Graham Dudley, | Updated - May 31, 2020 at 1:18 p.m. | Posted - May 31, 2020 at 12:54 p.m.

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Department of Health is reporting 264 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state Sunday, and one new death from the disease.

That brings Utah's total confirmed case count to 9,797, up from 9,533 cases the day before. Of those cases, 6,137 are estimated to have recovered, meaning they were diagnosed more than three weeks ago and did not die.

The death brings Utah's total up to 113 since the coronavirus pandemic began. In an email, health department spokesperson Jenny Johnson reports the deceased is a male Wasatch County resident younger than 65.

Twelve more Utahns have been hospitalized for the coronavirus since yesterday. There are 98 positive cases currently hospitalized, the department says. It reports 3,809 tests conducted since yesterday; the total positive rate of the state's 213,914 total conducted tests is now 4.6%, creeping higher after approaching 4% in weeks past.

Most of the state has moved to a designated "low-risk" level by now, and health officials have long cautioned that could lead to a slight uptick in case rates as they continue to encourage social distancing and mask-wearing.

But with distancing not always maintained between Memorial Day weekend and a week of national protests that recently spilled into Utah, officials are monitoring numbers like transmission rates and ICU capacity to ensure the state remains prepared.

State epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn said Friday that ICU utilization remains "well below our threshold level" and that the state "anticipated seeing new cases" with loosened restrictions.

"We will continue to watch our daily case counts closely," Dunn said, "with the goal of preventing widespread, community transmission."

But the health department's own incidence curve chart, designed to track case growth over time based on three-day average of incidence rates, shows a sharp increase in growth over the past several days.

Confirmed cases have grown by 1,405 since last Sunday.

Graham Dudley

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