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Kristin Murphy, KSL file

747 more COVID-19 cases, 1 death reported Wednesday as Utah sees 'new spike'

By Jacob Klopfenstein, KSL.com | Updated - Sep. 16, 2020 at 2:47 p.m. | Posted - Sep. 16, 2020 at 12:55 p.m.



SALT LAKE CITY — Utah is now experiencing a "new spike" in COVID-19 cases similar to the increase the state experienced shortly after Memorial Day earlier this summer, health officials say.

The number of COVID-19 cases increased by 747 from Tuesday, with one more death reported, according to the Utah Department of Health. The department now estimates there are 9,582 active cases of the disease in the state.

The rolling seven-day average number of positive cases per day is now at 585, according to the health department. The positive test rate per day for that time period is now 11.1%.

It's the second day in a row that the rolling average has been above 500. Utah's rolling average had been below 500 since late July.

"We are currently experiencing a new spike in cases, similar to what we saw earlier in the summer," health department state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn said in a news release Wednesday. "It's time to reiterate the importance of people taking these preventive measures. By wearing masks, physically distancing, and staying home if we are sick, we can prevent unnecessary death and illness."

Thursday's new numbers indicate a 1.3% increase in positive cases since Tuesday. Of the 729,731 people tested for COVID-19 in Utah so far, 8.2% have tested positive for COVID-19. The health department reports an increase of 4,119 in tests conducted as of Wednesday.

Like Monday's cases, most of Wednesday's new cases were among people aged 15-24, according to health department spokesperson Jenny Johnson. About 41% of the 747 cases reported Wednesday were from Utah County, while about 36% of those cases were from Salt Lake County. Davis County accounted for about 6% of Wednesday's new cases, Johnson said.

Though new cases have spiked recently, hospitalizations haven't yet. There are currently 115 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in Utah, down from 128 Wednesday. Of those hospitalized, 54 are occupying intensive care unit, or ICU, beds in the state. About 68% of Utah ICU beds are occupied as of Thursday, while about 54% of non-ICU beds are filled.

The death reported Thursday was a Salt Lake County man who was over the age of 85 and was not hospitalized when he died.

Wednesday's totals give Utah 59,747 total confirmed cases, with 3,381 total hospitalizations and 437 total deaths from the disease. An estimated 49,728 Utah COVID-19 cases are now considered recovered, state data shows.

There is not a COVID-19 news conference scheduled for Wednesday. State officials will provide an update Thursday at 11:30 a.m., according to Gov. Gary Herbert's office.

Contributing: Lee Lonsberry, KSL NewsRadio

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.

Data included in this story primarily reflects the state of Utah as a whole. For more localized data, visit your local health district's website.

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.

Jacob Klopfenstein

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