SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Department of Health released updated state coronavirus statistics Sunday afternoon, revealing 1,722 new test-confirmed cases of COVID-19 and five deaths from the disease.
The new case totals come as 6,143 more people were tested, the health department reports, and bring the state to 193,809 total COVID-19 cases and 868 virus deaths since the pandemic began.
In an email, the health department said the five new deaths include:
- A Weber County woman between ages 65 and 84 who was hospitalized when she died
- A Salt Lake County man over age 85 who was the resident of a long-term care facility
- A Utah County man over age 85 who was hospitalized
- Two Utah County men between ages 65 and 84 who were hospitalized
Of the new cases reported, 609 were from Salt Lake County, 443 were from Utah County, 212 were from Davis County, 139 were from Weber or Morgan County, and 100 were from the Southwest Utah district, which includes St. George. Utah's other health districts saw smaller jumps.
On Sunday, 564 Utahns are reportedly hospitalized due to COVID-19 and 207 are in intensive care. Over the past week, the state is averaging 2,354 new confirmed cases per day and a positive test percentage of 21.4.
State leaders did not hold a coronavirus news conference over the weekend but are expected to do so later this week; the conference usually occurs on Wednesdays or Thursdays. Gov. Gary Herbert is entering the final weeks of his long-lasting administration facing one of the biggest challenges of his political life, and has implemented an ongoing statewide mask mandate to stem the tide of the virus.
Based on the state's coronavirus health guidance system, or "transmission index," every county in the state except three — Daggett, Piute and Rich — is in the "high" transmission level and is expected to take precautions like limiting casual social gatherings to 10 people or fewer and ending bar and restaurant alcohol sales at 10 p.m.
Gov.-elect Spencer Cox said on Tuesday that there is "real evidence that the changes we all made the last 2 weeks are making a difference," referring to the mask mandate and a now-expired prohibition on extracurricular school activities and socially gathering with people outside one's household.
But he said "this plateau and potential downturn could be completely reversed by large Thanksgiving gatherings." Previous 2020 holidays like Memorial Day and Labor Day were followed by a coronavirus spike — and the state can ill afford a spike at this time, as coronavirus hospitalizations remain higher than ever and hospitals warn of strained capacity.
It remains to be seen how Thanksgiving will affect Utah's case counts, if at all. Sunday's case count is the lowest since Nov. 3, but relatively few tests were reported.
State leaders announced last week that Utahns who are not showing symptoms of the coronavirus can now schedule a test, if desired, by visiting TestUtah.com. The state had previously limited testing only to those exhibiting symptoms like fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat or muscle aches.
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.
For deaths that are reported as COVID-19 deaths, the person would not have died if they did not have COVID-19, according to the health department.
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.