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Health officials stress importance of COVID-19 testing as Utah reports 254 more cases

Jamie Bone, a Davis County Health Department registered nurse, prepares a syringe of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the Legacy Center Indoor Arena in Farmington on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. Utah reported 254 new coronavirus cases on Monday.

Jamie Bone, a Davis County Health Department registered nurse, prepares a syringe of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the Legacy Center Indoor Arena in Farmington on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. Utah reported 254 new coronavirus cases on Monday. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)



Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — As Utah continues experiencing a mini-spike in COVID-19 cases over the past several weeks, health officials are reminding people that testing remains important in the fight against the disease.

The Utah Department of Health reported 254 new COVID-19 cases Monday, along with two new deaths and 2,722 new vaccinations.

Monday's rolling seven-day average number of positive cases per day is at 348, according to the health department. The positive test rate per day for that time period calculated with the "people over people" method is now 9.6%. The positive test rate per day for that time period calculated with the "test over test" method is now 6.4%.

The vast majority of the cases contributing to Utah's current COVID-19 surge have been attributed to unvaccinated people. However, there have still been a handful of new "breakthrough" cases — hospitalizations and deaths from the disease among people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

During the week of Nov. 19, over 32,000 tests were conducted in Utah, according to the Utah Department of Health. During the week of June 14, that had decreased to just under 6,000 tests, but testing remains an important piece of Utah's pandemic fight.

"Even though much of the focus is now on vaccines, there are still several good reasons to make sure you get tested," the health department said in a news release.

Testing site locations are available at coronavirus.utah.gov.

The state reports that 5,090,097 tests have now been conducted in Utah since the pandemic began, up 6,936 since Sunday. Of those, 2,121 were tests of people who hadn't previously been tested for COVID-19, according to the health department.

The new numbers indicate a 0.06% increase in positive cases since Sunday. Of the 2,786,992 people tested for COVID-19 in Utah so far, 14.9% have tested positive for COVID-19.

New COVID-19 variants are spreading, and some are more transmissible, so it's important to find out if you're positive for the disease so you can isolate and avoid spreading the disease further, the health department said.

The delta variant of the disease, which originated in India, may soon become the dominant strain in Utah, and unvaccinated people should expect to get it, health officials say. It's thought to be more contagious than other mutations of the disease.

Overall, the health department reports 2,846,668 total vaccine doses have now been administered in Utah. That includes 1,570,854 Utahns, or about 49% of the state's total population, who have received at least a first dose of the vaccine. A total of 1,396,838 Utahns, about 43.6% of the state's population, are now fully vaccinated, the health department reported.

Meanwhile, there are now 220 COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized in Utah, including 72 in intensive care units, state data shows. About 69% of ICU hospital beds are now occupied in Utah, including about 70% of ICU beds at the state's 16 referral hospitals. About 54% of non-ICU hospital beds are now occupied in the state.

The two deaths reported Monday were an Emery County woman who was between the ages of 65 and 84, and a Salt Lake County man who was over the age of 85. Both were hospitalized when they died.

The health department estimates there are now 6,707 active cases of COVID-19 in Utah, and an estimated 405,132 cases are now considered recovered. Monday's update brings Utah to a total of 414,204 COVID-19 cases, 17,453 hospitalizations and 2,365 deaths since the pandemic began.

People who have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 should also get tested, the health department said.

Additionally, some employers may require a negative COVID-19 test before you can return to work, and hospitals may require you to test negative before allowing you to go to the hospital for elective surgery procedures.

Health officials also pointed out that travel restrictions are different in some areas of the world, so you may need to test negative before traveling.

"The pandemic isn't over yet," the department said.

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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