SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's number of COVID-19 cases has increased by 1,145 on Tuesday, with four more deaths reported, according to the Utah Department of Health.
The new numbers indicate a 1.1% increase in cumulative positive cases since Monday. Of the 1.044 million people tested for COVID-19 in Utah so far, 10.3% have tested positive for the disease.
The four people who died as a result of the coronavirus were from different parts of the state.
Utah health officials said a Washington County woman, aged 65 to 84, and a Utah County man, aged 45 to 64, died as a result of COVID-19. Both were residents of long-term care facilities.
A Cache County man, aged 65 to 84, and a Tooele County man, aged 45 to 64, also died from COVID-19. Both were hospitalized at the time of the deaths.
The rolling seven-day average number of positive cases per day is now at 1,507.1, according to the health department. The seven-day positive test rate per day is now 17.35% through Oct. 21. Both figures continue to rise to all-time highs since March.
The number of new people hospitalized due to COVID-19 increased by 67 from figures released on Monday. Current hospitalizations from COVID-19 slightly rose from 291 hospitalizations on Sunday to 296 on Monday, per Tuesday's update. Of the total COVID-19 patients, 111 were in intensive care units.
Utah now has 107,228 total confirmed cases, with 5,169 total hospitalizations and 578 total deaths from the disease following Tuesday's update.
Herbert addresses COVID-19 topics at press briefing
Earlier in the day, the state held a press briefing for those who speak Spanish. Gov. Gary Herbert, through the help of a translator, pleaded to Spanish speaking residents to follow guidelines outlined by the state. State health department officials; Dr. Wing Province, an emergency room physician for Intermountain Healthcare; and Suazo Business Center director Silvia Castro also spoke during the briefing.
"We, at the state of Utah, are working constantly to keep you informed and help you understand how you can protect yourselves and your families," Herbert said. "Although most Utahns are taking the pandemic seriously, we understand that it can still be confusing to keep up with the newest updated information and the restrictions."
During the briefing, Herbert reminded residents that that 21 of the state's 29 counties currently fall within the highest level of COVID-19 transmission, which he said "means the virus is spreading rapidly." He also pointed out that it also means masks are required for public gatherings within those counties and that gatherings should be limited to 10 or fewer people.
While noting that the survival rate of COVID-19 in Utah is high — more than 99% at this point — he dove into the reality that people can still deal with lingering complications from COVID-19. That includes people who have dealt with a loss of smell or taste.
Herbert again spoke of his daughter who hasn't regained the sense of smell three months after testing positive for the coronavirus, as well as a 13-year-old granddaughter who has lost weight because she has become too nauseated to eat due to her loss of taste and smell.
"Many others are now experiencing long-term complications," he added. "Possible lifelong debilitating effects include damage to the heart muscle, inflammation of the sack that covers the heart, increasing blood clots, damage to the lungs and damage to the nervous system, including the brain."
The governor also used Tuesday's briefing to respond to a question about the state's Crisis Standards of Care plan, which the Utah Hospital Association briefed him on last week. The document is a list of procedures for medical providers to follow in the case of an emergency that overwhelms medical facilities. Utah's latest guidelines were updated in August.
"The attempt here is that everyone gets the best care possible and the worry we've always had it overwhelming the medical system. That's happened in other states," Herbert said. "We're hoping it wasn't going to happen here; we hope it doesn't happen here. But if we get to that point, we have to have a criteria to continue to provide health care to (the) people of Utah even though we might have fewer doctors proportionately and nurses and ICU beds to go around. That's the point of having a crisis management plan in place."
He added that he has not been asked to invoke the plan yet but that he has no reason to believe he would not approve it in a dire situation.
The state's next press briefing will be Thursday, state officials said.
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.
More information about Utah's health guidance levels is available at coronavirus.utah.gov/utah-health-guidance-levels.
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.