Laura Seitz, KSL

Herbert extends state of emergency as Utah records 1,077 new COVID-19 cases, 3 new deaths

By Jen Riess, KSL.com | Updated - Sep. 19, 2020 at 3:53 p.m. | Posted - Sep. 19, 2020 at 11:45 a.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s number of COVID-19 cases has increased by 1,077 from Friday, with three new deaths reported, according to the Utah Department of Health.

It’s the second day in a row Utah has seen more than 1,000 new cases in a single day, having seen 1,117 new cases on Friday. This is the seventh case of incidence growth since March 18. The current upward trend started on September 7.

Because of the recent spike, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert on Saturday announced that he is renewing a state of emergency declaration that otherwise would have expired today. Herbert issued brief renewals of statute and rule suspensions that, among other things, relax the rules about using telehealth services and allow bars and restaurants to keep their Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control licenses even if they close down for a time.

The governor's office said in a statement that Herbert would only take certain executive actions "if asked to do so" by the Legislature-created Public Health and Economic Emergency Commission. It also said that, moving forward, "phased health guideline changes and mask mandates will be issued as public health orders under the Utah Department of Health."

The new state of emergency declaration is scheduled to expire on Tuesday, Oct. 20.

State officials now estimate there are 10,846 active cases of COVID-19 in Utah. The rolling seven-day average number of positive cases per day is now at 796 — skyrocketing up from below 500 last weekend, according to the health department. The positive test rate per day for that time period is now 12.7%.

The new numbers indicate a 3.58% decrease in positive cases since Friday. Of the 751,950 people tested for COVID-19 in Utah so far, 8.3% have tested positive for COVID-19. The state reports an increase of 8,213 tests conducted as of Saturday.

There are currently 137 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Utah, including 49 in intensive care unit, or ICU, beds across the state, according to state data. About 70.8% of all ICU beds in the state are occupied as of Friday, while about 56.2% of non-ICU beds are filled.

Saturday's totals give Utah 62,852 total confirmed cases, with 3,477 total hospitalizations and 440 total deaths from the disease. A total of 50,957 Utah COVID-19 cases are now considered recovered, according to the health department.

Utah and Salt Lake counties are leading the state with 43,027 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic.

There is not a COVID-19 news conference scheduled for Saturday. Herbert and health department state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn provided a coronavirus update at a news conference Thursday.

Contributing: Graham Dudley, 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.

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.

Jen Riess

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