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343 more COVID-19 cases, nearly 10K vaccinations reported as new Utah epidemiologist announced

Dr. Leisha Nolen will become the Utah Department of Health's new state epidemiologist next month, the agency announced on Thursday, June 3, 2021.

Dr. Leisha Nolen will become the Utah Department of Health's new state epidemiologist next month, the agency announced on Thursday, June 3, 2021. (Utah Department of Health)


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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's number of COVID-19 cases has increased by 343 on Thursday, with three more deaths and 9,713 vaccinations reported, according to the Utah Department of Health.

The health department estimates there are now 5,473 active COVID-19 cases in Utah. The rolling seven-day average number of positive cases per day is now at 208, according to the health department. The positive test rate per day for that time period calculated with the "people over people" method is now 6.6%. The positive test rate per day for that time period calculated with the "test over test" method is now 4%.

There are now 140 COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized in Utah, including 54 in intensive care, state data shows. About 72% of all intensive care unit beds in Utah are now occupied, including about 75% of ICU beds in the state's 16 referral hospitals. About 55% of non-ICU hospital beds are now occupied in the state.

A total of 2,612,068 vaccine doses have been administered in the state, up from 2,602,355 Wednesday. There are now 1,496,754 Utahns who have received at least a first dose of the vaccine, which makes up about 46.7% of the state's total population, according to the health department. A total of 1,229,238 Utahns, or about 38.3% of the total population, are now fully vaccinated.

Among Utahns ages 12 and older, who are currently eligible to receive the vaccine, about 57.7% have received at least a first dose and 47.4% are fully vaccinated. A total of 3,124,788 vaccine doses have been shipped to Utah so far, according to the health department.

The new numbers indicate a 0.08% increase in positive cases since Wednesday. Of the 2,701,777 people tested for COVID-19 in Utah so far, 15.1% have tested positive for COVID-19. The number of total tests conducted in Utah since the pandemic began is now 4,943,087, up 8,115 since Wednesday. Of those, 4,602 were tests of people who had not previously been tested for COVID-19, according to state data.

The three deaths reported Thursday were:

  • A Box Elder County man who was between the ages of 45 and 64 and was hospitalized when he died
  • A Utah County man who was between the ages of 45 and 64 and was hospitalized when he died
  • A Washington County man who was between the ages of 65 and 84 and was hospitalized when he died

One of the deaths reported Thursday occurred before May 3 but was still being investigated by state medical examiners, the health department said.

Thursday's totals give Utah 406,825 total confirmed cases, with 16,893 total hospitalizations and 2,308 total deaths from the disease. An estimated 399,044 Utah COVID-19 cases are now considered recovered, the health department reported.

Utah Department of Health names new state epidemiologist

Also Thursday, the Utah Department of Health named a new state epidemiologist.

Dr. Leisha Nolen will become Utah's top infectious disease expert when she joins the health department on July 6, the agency said in a news release.

Nolen currently serves in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Arctic Investigations Program in Anchorage, Alaska.

"The Utah Department of Health has such an outstanding reputation among public health professionals, and I am excited to get to work with this great group of individuals to help improve the health of the residents of Utah," Nolen said in the release. "As I get to know Utah and its different health challenges, I hope to find ways that my training and experience can contribute to the programs and teams already in place."

Nolen was one of the first responders in Seattle early in the COVID-19 pandemic, when a cluster of cases of the disease were discovered in a nursing home in one of the first outbreaks in the United States. She has since worked on multiple projects related to COVID-19, including helping to create a national system for tracking COVID-19 breakthrough cases and evaluating the accuracy of rapid tests.

With the Arctic Investigations Program, Nolen has been working to identify and address disparities in infectious disease health among Alaskan Natives.

"The state epidemiologist plays such a critical role in identifying and addressing health concerns in Utah," Rich Saunders, the health department's executive director, said in the release. "We're fortunate to have Dr. Nolen joining our team. Her background and previous experience ensures she'll be able to smoothly and quickly integrate with our pandemic response team and also with our broader public health priorities and partners."

Nolen received her M.D. and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and completed a pediatric residency at Boston Children's Hospital, the release said.

Nolen replaces former state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn, who this week started in her new role as executive director of the Salt Lake County Health Department.

"The state epidemiologist is an important partner for local health departments in our state," Dunn said in the release. "I think I speak for all local health officers in welcoming Dr. Nolen to Utah and offering our support to help ensure her success."

Methodology

See more details about KSL.com's COVID-19 data and methodology by clicking this link.

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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