SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s number of COVID-19 cases increased by 413 from Tuesday, with seven more deaths reported, according to the Utah Department of Health.
The new numbers indicate a 1.4% increase in positive cases since Tuesday. Of the 432,080 tests conducted in Utah so far, 7.1% were positive for COVID-19. The number of tests conducted increased by 7,559 as of Wednesday, the health department said.
The rolling seven-day average number of positive cases per day is now at 589, down from 635.7 Tuesday, according to the health department. The positive test rate per day for that time period is now 10.13%, down from 10.2% Tuesday.
There are now 204 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Utah, up from 176 on Tuesday. Just under 66% of intensive care unit, or ICU, beds at Utah hospitals are occupied as of Wednesday, according to the health department. A total of 83 people with COVID-19 are in Utah ICU beds, the health department reports.
About 53% of non-ICU beds at Utah hospitals are currently occupied, according to state data.
Wednesday’s totals give Utah 30,891 total confirmed cases, with 1,913 total hospitalizations and 233 total deaths from the disease. Previously, there were 30,478 cases in the state.
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.
7 deaths reported
The health department reported seven more COVID-19 deaths Wednesday. The seven people who died were:
- A Davis County man who was between the ages of 65 and 84 and was hospitalized when he died
- A Salt Lake County man who was between the ages of 65 and 84 and was not hospitalized when he died
- A Salt Lake County man who was between the ages of 45 and 64 and was hospitalized when he died
- A San Juan 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 not hospitalized when she died
- A Weber County man who was between the ages of 45 and 64 and was not hospitalized when he died
- A Weber County man who was between the ages of 65 and 84 and was hospitalized when he died
Health department officials also clarified Wednesday that the COVID-19 deaths reported each day may not be individuals who died in the last 24 hours. Tuesday, the department reported 10 deaths, the highest number of deaths reported in any single day since the pandemic began. However, three of the deaths reported Tuesday were from previous weeks or months.
Deaths reported by the health department typically occurred two to seven days before the department reports them, the health department said in an email. Occasionally, some deaths may have occurred more than two to seven days before they are reported, usually when a Utah resident has died in another state.
The health department does not provide the date of death for each person who has died from COVID-19 due to privacy concerns, the department said. If that information was given in addition to age, gender and the location of death, it would be too easy to identify the person who died, the department's statement said.
COVID-19 in Hispanic communities
As the COVID-19 pandemic that has disproportionately affected the Hispanic and Latino community continues, multicultural leaders on Wednesday provided updates they hope will help aid the Utah community that has seen the majority of cases of the disease.
Hispanics and Latinos account for 40.5% of all COVID-19 cases during Utah's pandemic, despite making up just 14.2% of the state's total population, according to Utah Department of Health Data.
Utah officials provided a COVID-19 update in a Spanish-language news conference Wednesday morning. The replay of the event, including both Spanish- and English-language versions, is available below. A news conference with Gov. Gary Herbert and health department state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn will take place Thursday.
English-language news conference:
Spanish-language news conference:
The list of speakers Wednesday included Dr. Daniel Mendoza, assistant research professor for the University of Utah; Frank Trivino of the Utah Department of Workforce Services; Silvia Castro of Suazo Business Center and Multicultural Subcommittee of the Utah COVID-19 Task Force; and Consul José Vicente Borjón of the Mexican Consulate of Salt Lake City.
Salt Lake County zip codes that include the lowest-income and highest-minority populations have COVID-19-positive rates nearly 10 times that of wealthier, lower-minority areas, according to Mendoza.
Traffic analysis from lower-income zip codes in Salt Lake County showed a decrease in traffic activity by 10-15% during "Stay Safe, Stay Home" directives between March 16 and May 1, Mendoza said. However, traffic dropped by up to 50% in higher-income, lower-minority areas, he added. That shows that higher-income populations had more of an ability to telework or not work during the pandemic compared to lower-income areas, he said.
Several state and federal aid programs are still available through the Utah Department of Workforce Services, Trivino said. Unemployment insurance benefits, including the $600 add-on provided by the federal government, as well as food assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, and rental assistance programs are available to Utahns, Trivino added.
Unemployment insurance benefits are only available to people who are citizens or who are otherwise authorized to work in Utah. However, rental assistance is available through the state of Utah to people who are undocumented, Trivino said. SNAP benefits may also be available for households if children are citizens even if parents are undocumented.
A new Pandemic EBT program is also available for children. If a child was receiving free or reduced lunch at school as of March 16, they will be eligible for a one-time benefit of $308.
As the pandemic has affected Hispanic and Latino households, it has also affected businesses owned by members of that community, Castro said. However, help is available through federal, state and local government and through the Suazo Business Center.
Funds are still available to help businesses who need assistance, Castro said. For information about the programs for businesses that are available, visit coronavirus.utah.gov/business. Weber and Davis counties, as well as the city of Harrisville, may also provide business assistance for Hispanic and Latino business owners, Castro added.
The Suazo Business Center also holds a Facebook Live session every Wednesday at 10 a.m. to answer questions for business owners who may need assistance.
The Mexican consulate was closed due to COVID-19, but lines of communication have remained open for those in need, and the consulate has now reopened for some services, Borjón said. People are asked to wear masks if they visit the consulate building, but masks may be provided for those who need one, he said.
The consulate is able to assist Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, recipients if they are applying for renewal under that program. Some financial assistance may also be available for Mexicans living in Utah, Borjón said.
A total of 14 Mexicans have died from COVID-19 so far in Utah, he said. The consulate is also working with incarcerated Mexicans to make sure they are safe and healthy during the pandemic.
More information is available via the consulate's website, consulmex.sre.gob.mx/saltlakecity.