Gov. Cox says getting more vaccines shouldn't be like 'Hunger Games'; 1,771 more COVID cases reported Saturday

KSL TV, File

Gov. Cox says getting more vaccines shouldn't be like 'Hunger Games'; 1,771 more COVID cases reported Saturday

By Graham Dudley, KSL.com | Updated - Jan. 23, 2021 at 12:17 p.m. | Posted - Jan. 23, 2021 at 12:00 p.m.



SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Department of Health is reporting 1,771 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 Saturday, as well as 11 deaths from the disease.

Two of those deaths occurred before the new year, officials said, but were still under investigation. Overall, that brings Utah to 334,889 total confirmed cases and 1,582 deaths since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Over the past week, the state is averaging 1,804 new cases reported per day and a positive test rate of 18.9%. There are currently 481 Utahns reported hospitalized due to COVID-19, including 196 in intensive care. Exactly 90% of the state's ICU beds are reportedly full; the state considers ICUs "functionally full" at 85% capacity.

The case numbers come as 24,958 more tests results were reported, including those of 10,001 people who were tested for the virus for the first time.

The health department is now reporting it has administered 222,275 total coronavirus vaccine doses in Utah, including 27,542 second doses. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses for maximum effectiveness.

The deaths reported Saturday included:

  • A Davis County man between ages 45 and 64 who was hospitalized when he died
  • A Davis County man between ages 65 and 84 who was hospitalized
  • A Duchesne County woman between ages 45 and 64 who was hospitalized
  • A Salt Lake County man between ages 45 and 64 who was hospitalized
  • A Salt Lake County man over age 85 who was hospitalized
  • A Salt Lake County man over age 85 who was not hospitalized when he died
  • A Salt Lake County woman between ages 65 and 84 who was the resident of a long-term care facility
  • A Sanpete County man between ages 65 and 84 who was not hospitalized
  • A Utah County woman over age 85 who was hospitalized
  • A Utah County man over age 85 who was hospitalized
  • A Washington County man between ages 65 and 84 who was hospitalized

'This shouldn't be the Hunger Games'

There is no coronavirus news conference scheduled for over the weekend, but Utah Gov. Spencer Cox appeared on Chris Cuomo's primetime CNN show Friday night to talk about vaccine distribution efforts in the state.

Responding to concerns that thousands of vaccine doses went unused for more than a week, Cox said CVS and Walgreens are responsible for most of that backlog because their vaccine distribution agreement with the federal government leaves them with more doses than they need.

Cox said the pharmacies have thousands of extra doses "that they don't need and can't use right now," and that extra doses are being given to local Utah health departments to administer instead.

Cuomo asked Cox for three things that "have to be changed" to increase vaccinations in the state.

"There's only one thing that has to be changed," Cox said. "We just have to get more vaccine."

The state is administering more than 60,000 vaccines a week, Cox said, and "chewing up the backlog that was stuck in these other places."

"We're only getting 33,000 doses a week," he said. "Next week, we will run out of doses on Wednesday. That is going to happen every week until we get more."

Cox also said state leaders could use more insight into the manufacturing process.

"Is it going to be ramping up? And if so, how fast is it ramping up? If we knew that we were going to go from 33,000 doses a week to, say, 50,000 doses a week in three weeks, then we could repurpose second doses now as first doses, knowing it would make up for it down the road. Somebody has to be able to tell us, at some point, how the manufacturing process is working and give us some insight into what that looks like down the road."

But Cox said states shouldn't have to go to manufacturers directly for their doses.

"This shouldn't be the 'Hunger Games' like it was with (personal protective equipment)," Cox said. "That was ridiculous, and we all had to play that game. ... We just need insight from the federal government and the manufacturers."

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.

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.

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