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591 more COVID-19 cases, 1 death reported Tuesday in Utah

By Jacob Klopfenstein, KSL.com | Updated - Feb. 16, 2021 at 2:50 p.m. | Posted - Feb. 16, 2021 at 1:00 p.m.



SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's number of COVID-19 cases increased by 591 on Tuesday, with one more death reported, according to the Utah Department of Health.

There are now an estimated 24,911 active COVID-19 cases in Utah.

The rolling seven-day average number of positive cases per day is now at 950 — the second day in a row that number has been below 1,000, according to the health department. The positive test rate per day for that time period calculated with the "people over people" method is now 13.7%. The seven-day average positive test rate calculated with the "test over test" method is 6.42%.

There are 272 COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized in Utah, including 104 in intensive care, state data shows. About 75% of all intensive care unit beds in Utah are filled Tuesday, including about 79% of ICU beds in the state's 16 referral hospitals. About 51% of non-ICU hospital beds are also filled, according to state data.

A total of 532,985 vaccines have been administered in the state, up from 525,033 Sunday. Of those, 160,809 are second doses of the vaccine.

The new numbers indicate a 0.2% increase in positive cases since Sunday. Of the 2,129,525 people tested for COVID-19 in Utah so far, 17% have tested positive for the disease. The total number of tests conducted since the beginning of the pandemic is now 3,611,107, up 9,985 since Sunday. Of those, 4,015 were tests of people who had not previously been tested for COVID-19.

The death reported Tuesday was a man from Salt Lake County who was over the age of 85 and was hospitalized when he died.

Tuesday's totals give Utah 362,347 total confirmed cases, with 14,239 total hospitalizations and 1,797 total deaths from the disease. A total of 335,049 Utah COVID-19 cases are now estimated to be recovered, state data shows.

At a news conference Tuesday morning, Intermountain Healthcare infectious diseases physician Dr. Brandon Webb said just under 20% of the Utah adult population has now been vaccinated against COVID-19. That has led to some initial signs of population immunity to the disease, he said.

"It is helping," Webb said. "It's a very important thing to see more of the population immune."

The mRNA vaccines that are now available have been shown to be effective in generating immunity against COVID-19, including for the United Kingdom variant, Webb said. The mRNA vaccines are less effective against the South Africa and Brazil variants of COVID-19, which is why it is important to vaccinate as many people as possible now, so that those variants don't have the opportunity to spread widely and become more dominant, Webb said.

Making sure to keep wearing masks and socially distancing is also still just as important as ever, because that hinders the variants from spreading and becoming more prevalent in communities, he added.

"We want to win that race, we want to limit the number of transmissions in our community," Webb said.

Webb pointed out that the current Utah COVID-19 numbers are similar to what Utah experienced in October, before a winter surge led to skyrocketing spread of the disease. Though a seven-day average near 1,000 cases per day is still too high, Webb said he expects the numbers to continue trending downward in Utah, especially if people continue taking precautions as they have done since the beginning of the pandemic.

"We're very pleased to see that these (numbers) are coming down," he said.

There is not a COVID-19 news conference scheduled for Tuesday. Utah Gov. Spencer Cox is expected to provide a COVID-19 update during his monthly news conference with PBS Utah at 10 a.m. Thursday.

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.

The "people over people" method for the seven-day average positive test rate is calculated by dividing the number of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 by the total number of people tested. The "test over test" method is calculated by dividing the total number of positive tests by the total number of tests administered.

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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