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SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Department of Health reported 4,672 new COVID-19 cases Thursday with 13 more deaths, breaking the record for the number of cases reported in a single day.
The health department now estimates there are 50,904 active cases of the disease in Utah.
The sudden increase in cases comes after the state has seen a steady decrease in COVID-19 cases over the past few weeks. Back in November, officials feared a Thanksgiving Day spike but were happy to report only a small surge after the holiday.
However, with Thursday's numbers, a surge in cases related to Christmas is a possibility.
Gov.-elect Spencer Cox wrote on Twitter that while it's possible the sharp increase in cases could be due to low testing last week, it could be the beginning of a holiday-related surge.
"Our fear is that people were less cautious during Christmas," he wrote in a tweet. "If you are planning large gatherings to celebrate New Year's Eve, please reconsider."
The Utah Department of Health will not be reporting COVID-19 numbers on Friday due to the holiday, officials said.
"Today's case counts are a sobering reminder that we are still in this battle," health department officials wrote in a statement.
Thursday's numbers were the highest single-day increase of COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, without backlogged numbers. On Nov. 14, health officials reported 5,352 new cases after technical difficulties prevented them from reporting all the numbers the day prior. About 1,300 of the 5,352 were from the day before.
Prior to Thursday, the highest single-day increase in cases (without reporting delays) was on Nov. 20 when the state reported 4,588 new cases.
The rolling seven-day average number of positive cases per day is now at 2,288 according to the health department. The positive test rate per day for that time period is now 25.6%. The total number of deaths since the start of the pandemic is now at 1,269.
Of the 1,726,003 people tested for COVID-19 in Utah so far, 16% have tested positive for COVID-19. The health department reported 11,412 new people were tested for COVID-19 as of Thursday.
There are now 510 COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized in Utah with 158 in intensive care units, state data shows. Total hospitalizations since the beginning of the outbreak are now 10,956.
About 83.2% of all ICU beds are occupied in Utah as of Thursday, including about 87% of ICU beds in the state's 16 referral hospitals. About 55.7% of non-ICU hospital beds are occupied, state data shows.
A total of 30,200 COVID-19 vaccines have now been administered, up from 23,970 Wednesday, according to state data. Health officials note that there is a data reporting delay of up to seven days from when vaccine doses are shipped to Utah, administered to patients, and reported to the state health department. The state reported Wednesday that more than 125,000 total vaccine doses have either been shipped or approved to be shipped to Utah.
The 13 deaths reported Thursday were:
- A Weber County woman older than 85 who was not hospitalized at the time of her death
- A Washington County man between the ages of 65 and 84 who was hospitalized when he died
- A Salt Lake County man older than the age of 85 who was hospitalized when he died
- A Weber County man between the ages of 65 and 84 who was a long-term care facility resident
- A Salt Lake County man older than 85 who was not hospitalized when he died
- A Davis County man between the ages of 65 and 84 who was not hospitalized when he died
- A Davis County man between the ages of 65 and 84 who was hospitalized when he died
- A Salt Lake County man between the ages of 45 and 64 who was hospitalized when he died
- A Weber County man between the ages of 25 and 44 who was not hospitalized when he died
- A Weber County man between the ages of 65 and 84 who was hospitalized when he died
- A Tooele County woman older than 85 who was a long-term care facility resident
- A Utah County man between the ages of 65 and 84 who was hospitalized when he died
- A Utah County woman between the ages of 65 and 84 who was not hospitalized when she died
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.
Referral hospitals are the 16 Utah hospitals with the capability to provide the best COVID-19 health care.
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.