The state also reported 541 COVID-19 patients are currently hospitalized, which breaks Tuesday's record of 512 current hospitalizations. Wednesday marks the third day in a row Utah has broken its own record in that category, and the third day in a row that over 500 COVID-19 patients have been occupying hospital beds in Utah.
The health department now estimates there are 53,106 active cases of COVID-19 in the state. That estimate is another record high, breaking Tuesday's estimate of 51,624 active cases.
Utah's rolling seven-day average number of positive cases per day is now at 3,161, according to the health department. The positive test rate per day for that time period is now 24.1%.
Wednesday's new numbers indicate a 1.9% increase in positive cases since Tuesday. Of the 1,278,951 people tested for COVID-19 in Utah so far, 12.8% have tested positive for the disease. The state reported an increase of 13,351 tests conducted as of Wednesday.
Of the 541 COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized in Utah, 201 are in intensive care unit beds, marking the first time during the pandemic that over 200 COVID-19 patients occupy ICU beds.
About 85% of all ICU beds in Utah are occupied as of Wednesday, including nearly 90% of ICU beds at referral hospitals, which receive patients from other Utah jurisdictions that don't have space to provide care. About 52% of non-ICU hospital beds in Utah are occupied, health department data shows.
As COVID-19 statistics continued their climb Wednesday, Utah leaders did deliver some good news: Distribution of COVID-19 vaccines could begin as early as next month.
Plans for distribution are not final and could change significantly as the situation develops, but Utah's largest hospitals are currently expected to get the first shipments of the vaccine in December, according to health officials. Distribution will start with health care workers at the state's largest hospitals, followed by a phased rollout to other groups throughout the state.
Health officials expect the vaccine to be available to all Utahns by next summer, possibly in June or July.
Wednesday's totals give Utah 162,028 total confirmed cases, with 7,107 total hospitalizations and 740 total deaths from the disease.
The nine deaths reported Wednesday include:
- A Summit County woman who was between the ages of 65 and 84 and was not hospitalized when she died
- A Salt Lake County woman who was over the age of 85 and was a resident of a long-term care facility
- A Washington County woman who was between the ages of 45 and 64 and was not hospitalized when she died
- A Salt Lake County man who was over the age of 85 and was hospitalized when he died
- A Davis County woman who was between the ages of 65 and 84 and was not hospitalized when she died
- A Weber County man who was between the ages of 65 and 84 and was not hospitalized when he died
- A Cache County man who was between the ages of 65 and 84 and was hospitalized when he died
- A Salt Lake County man who was between the ages of 65 and 84 and was hospitalized when he died
- A Salt Lake County woman who was between the ages of 65 and 84 and was not hospitalized when she died
One death previously attributed to COVID-19 has been taken out of the total death count for further investigation, the health department said. That death was a Utah County woman who was between the ages of 65 and 84 and was a resident of a long-term care facility.
There is not a COVID-19 news conference scheduled for Wednesday. Utah Gov. Gary Herbert is expected to provide a COVID-19 update during his monthly PBS Utah news conference at 10:30 a.m. Thursday.
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.