SALT LAKE CITY — Utah inched closer Wednesday to Gov. Gary Herbert's goal of seeing new COVID-19 cases drop below a rolling average of 500 cases per day with an increase of 339 cases reported.
Six more COVID-19 deaths were also reported Wednesday, according to the Utah Department of Health. The agency now estimates there are 12,260 active cases of the disease in Utah.
The rolling seven-day average number of positive cases per day is now at 511, according to the health department. The positive test rate per day for that time period is now 9.6%.
Herbert has set a goal of seeing the rolling average drop below 500 by Aug. 1. If the state doesn't meet that goal, the governor has said he might reconsider more drastic policies, such as a statewide mask mandate, to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Utah saw fewer than 500 new cases for the fourth day in a row Wednesday. If that number holds at 500 or below for the next two days, the state will meet Herbert's goal. If cases are under 437 on Thursday, the state will meet Herbert's goal by tomorrow.
However, just one day with over 500 cases can significantly set back the goal. If the state sees daily cases above 600 for the next three days, Utah won't meet the goal.
Though the daily new cases have trended in a promising direction the last few days, hospitalizations and deaths haven't followed suit. There are currently 208 COVID-19 patients hospitalized with the disease in Utah, according to the health department. That marks the seventh day in a row with over 200 COVID-19 hospitalizations, the longest streak above that mark since the pandemic began.
Of those hospitalized, 88 COVID-19 patients are currently in intensive care unit, or ICU, beds across Utah, state data shows. About 69% of all ICU beds in the state are occupied as of Wednesday, and about 51% of non-ICU beds at Utah hospitals are filled, according to the health department.
The six deaths reported Wednesday were:
- A Salt Lake County man who was over the age of 85 and was a resident of a long-term care facility
- A Salt Lake County woman who was between the ages of 65 and 84 and was a resident of a long-term care facility
- A Salt Lake County man who was between the ages of 65 and 84 and was not hospitalized when he died
- A second Salt Lake County woman who was between the ages of 65 and 84 and was a resident of a long-term care facility
- A Utah County man who was between the ages of 45 and 64 and was a resident of a long-term care facility
- A Weber County man who was between the ages of 65 and 84 and was hospitalized when he died
Utah's overall mortality rate is 0.7% as of Wednesday, according to state data. It has been below 1% for the majority of the pandemic.
The new numbers Wednesday indicate a 0.9% increase in positive cases since Tuesday. Of the 518,191 people tested for COVID-19 in Utah so far, 7.6% have tested positive for the disease. As of Wednesday, the number of tests conducted has increased by 3,682, the health department reported.
Wednesday totals give Utah 39,194 total confirmed cases, with 2,324 total hospitalizations and 292 total deaths from the disease. An estimated 26,643 COVID-19 cases are now considered recovered, the health department reports.
There will not be a COVID-19 news conference Wednesday. The health department's weekly briefing will be Thursday at 11:30 a.m., according to Gov. Gary Herbert's office.
Contributing: Josh Furlong, KSL.com
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.
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.
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.