SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Department of Health reported 632 new COVID-19 cases and five new deaths Saturday.
The new cases bring Utah's total confirmed case count to 28,855, with 1,797 total hospitalizations and 212 deaths. Friday, the total was 28,223 confirmed cases as a record-breaking 867 new cases were announced.
Saturday's numbers bring the state's total estimate of active COVID-19 cases to 11,958, up from 11,756 active cases on Friday. An estimated 16,897 cases are considered recovered, as those people were diagnosed with the disease three or more weeks ago and have not died. Two-hundred and three patients are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, up from 182 hospitalizations on Friday.
Utah's seven-day case average is now 614, down from 620.6 per day on Friday. The seven-day case average is considered a more relevant statistic than individual daily numbers in isolation because it allows state health officials to examine trends in viral transmission instead of daily fluctuation. Gov. Gary Herbert has said that hospital officials believe 800 cases per day in the state's seven-day average is the limit to healthcare capacity, and current goals are to lower the average to under 500 daily cases by Aug. 1.
There have been 405,352 total tests conducted for COVID-19 in the state, and the number of daily tests conducted has increased by 9,378 with 9.9% of those tests coming back positive, the Utah Department of Health reports.
Of the five new COVID-19 deaths reported Saturday, four were men who resided in Salt Lake County. Two were between the ages of 65-84, with one hospitalized at the time of death and another being a long-term care facility resident. The other two men were between the ages of 45-64, with one hospitalized at the time of death and one a long-term care facility resident.
The final fatality was a woman from Washington County between the age of 25-44 who was not hospitalized at her time of death.
While the governor has stopped short of creating a statewide mask mandate to reach his Aug. 1 goal, he has encouraged mask-wearing and social distancing. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints issued an email late Friday to its Utah members asking them to wear masks in public. The email follows a call from 28 faith leaders across the state to wear a mask and social distance.
Intermountain Healthcare's chief physician executive, Dr. Mark Briesacher, said that "we're headed towards disaster" on COVID-19 cases as Utah hospitals near their normal capacity and some move toward their peak efficiency capacity, which is reached when beds are 80-90% full. Dr. Mike Baumann, chief medical officer for MountainStar Healthcare, warned that the influx of COVID-19-positive ICU patients could make it more difficult for other patients to receive care, and Utah's current state mirrors Florida's weeks ago. Some Florida hospitals have had to hire new healthcare workers and suspend non-emergency procedures as they reach capacity.