SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Department of Health reported 2,150 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and 13 new deaths Saturday in its daily release of updated coronavirus statistics.
Six of those new deaths occurred prior to Dec. 26, it said, and have been added after further investigation. "The Office of the Medical Examiner conducts thorough investigations of all potential COVID-related deaths," the department wrote in an email, "(and) these investigations can take several weeks to complete."
The update brings Utah to 322,252 total confirmed cases and 1,485 deaths since the pandemic began. An estimated 56,521 of those cases are currently active.
Over the past week, the state is averaging 2,315 new confirmed cases per day and a rolling positive test rate of 24.7%, which is down from 32.6% a week ago but still in a range that indicates a high probability of underreported community spread.
Currently, 581 Utahns are hospitalized due to COVID-19, including 231 in intensive care. Saturday's numbers come as 10,460 more people were tested for the virus and about 26,000 new tests were conducted overall, the health department says.
A total of 152,509 vaccine doses have now been administered in the state, almost 10,000 more than yesterday.
The health department announced on Friday that it has detected a new variant of COVID-19 in Utah, one first found in the U.K. The variant is thought to be more transmissible and easier to spread than previous iterations of the virus, but there is no evidence that it is more deadly. Health officials currently believe the approved coronavirus vaccines will be effective against the variant.
On Saturday, Utah health officials announced on Twitter they have deployed a monoclonal antibody "strike team" to long-term care facilities experiencing coronavirus outbreaks at the direction of Gov. Spencer Cox. "Monoclonal antibodies for COVID-19 may block the virus that causes COVID-19 from attaching to human cells," they wrote, "making it more difficult for the virus to reproduce and cause harm."
Antibodies form naturally in the bodies of recovered patients, providing some immunity against future infection; monoclonal antibodies are created in a lab to mimic this effect and have been approved by federal agencies as a COVID-19 preventative and treatment.
The health department said its strike teams would administer 25 infusions at five different facilities Saturday.
There is no coronavirus news conference from state leaders scheduled for over the weekend.
The 13 deaths reported Saturday included:
- A Box Elder County man between ages 65 and 84 who was the resident of a long-term care facility
- A Davis County man over age 85 who was hospitalized when he died
- A Garfield County man between ages 65 and 84 who was the resident of a long-term care facility
- A Salt Lake County man between ages 65 and 84 who was hospitalized
- A Salt Lake County woman over age 85 who was the resident of a long-term care facility
- A Sanpete County man between ages 65 and 84 who was hospitalized
- A Uintah County woman over age 85 who was the resident of a long-term care facility
- A Utah County man between ages 65 and 84 who was not hospitalized when he died
- A Utah County man between ages 65 and 84 who was hospitalized
- A Utah County woman older than 85 who was the resident of a long-term care facility
- A Washington County woman between ages 65 and 84 who was the resident of a long-term care facility
- Two Washington County men between ages 65 and 84 who were residents of a long-term care facility
- Friday: 2,543 more COVID-19 cases, 12 deaths reported Friday in Utah
- Thursday: Utah still working through vaccine rollout hiccups as state sees 2,742 new COVID-19 cases, 11 deaths
- Wednesday: 2,899 more COVID-19 cases, 27 deaths reported Wednesday in Utah
- Tuesday: 2,146 more COVID-19 cases, 26 deaths reported Tuesday in Utah
- Monday: 1,484 more COVID-19 cases, 4 deaths reported Monday in Utah
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.