Gov. Herbert holds emergency meeting as 2,956 COVID-19 cases reported; U. to test all students

(Laura Seitz, KSL)



SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's number of COVID-19 cases has increased by 2,956 on Saturday, just short of matching Friday's record-high total, with nine more deaths reported, according to the Utah Department of Health.

Utah surpassed the 2,000-case threshold for the first time on Oct. 30 and is nearing 3,000 cases per day, having broken its single-day record in two of the past three days. Friday's 17 deaths were also a single-day record.

KSL's Ashley Imlay reports that Utah Gov. Gary Herbert is in an emergency meeting with other officials to decide on additional measures to fight the pandemic and rapidly growing numbers of coronavirus cases and deaths. These measures include regularly testing college students for the disease, Herbert's office confirmed.

The University of Utah tweeted Saturday that it will ask all students, more than 32,000 of them, to get tested before the Thanksgiving and winter break.

"The decision to test all students for COVID-19 is not one being taken lightly," the university said in a statement. "The fact is that despite all best efforts, the number of cases of the virus is rising at an alarming rate and so additional measures to stop the spread must be taken. These tests are part of those measures."

Students will receive a notification to sign up for a time to visit one of the university's testing locations. The students will have to download an app that will allow them to register and receive their results. The test will be free for students.

Lt. Gov Spencer Cox, the governor-elect, tweeted Friday night that Herbert will be making an announcement soon about what he has decided to do moving forward after conversations with public health officials and legislative leadership.

"COVID-19 is spreading rampantly and uncontrolled in our communities. Getting ahead of this trend will become more and more difficult with every passing day," Herbert said in a statement Friday. "In the coming days, I will be announcing additional policies designed to address this ongoing surge."

The rolling seven-day average number of positive cases per day is now at 2,213, according to the health department. The positive test rate per day for that time period is now 19.9%.

There are currently 410 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in Utah. Of those, 175 are in intensive care unit beds, state data shows. About 76.6% of Utah's ICU beds are filled as of Saturday, while about 55.2% of non-ICU beds are occupied, according to the health department.

Saturday's totals give Utah 130,235 total confirmed cases, with 6,020 total hospitalizations and 658 total deaths from the disease since the pandemic began.

Coronavirus cases have been surging across the United States, which set a single-day record for the third consecutive day on Friday with 126,480 new coronavirus cases on Friday, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

The 9 deaths reported Saturday in Utah include:

  • Male, older than 85, Salt Lake County resident, who was hospitalized when he died
  • Male, between 65-84, Davis County resident, who was hospitalized when he died
  • Male, between 65-84, Salt Lake County resident, who was hospitalized when he died
  • Male, between 45-64, Salt Lake County resident, who was hospitalized when he died
  • Female, between 65-84, Juab County resident, who was a long-term care facility resident
  • Male, between 65-84, Davis County resident, who was hospitalized when he died
  • Female, between 45-64, Salt Lake County resident, who was hospitalized when she died
  • Female, between 65-84, Utah County resident, who was a long-term care facility resident
  • Male, older than 85, Utah County resident, who was a long-term care facility resident

This week:

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.

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.

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