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Utah reports largest COVID-19 increase since April with 574 new cases

Syringes are filled with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at Salt Lake County's mass vaccination site at the Mountain America Expo Center in Sandy on Monday, Jan. 18, 2021. Health officials reported 574 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday.

Syringes are filled with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at Salt Lake County's mass vaccination site at the Mountain America Expo Center in Sandy on Monday, Jan. 18, 2021. Health officials reported 574 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday. (Steve Griffin, Deseret News)



Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — As the state continues experiencing a surge in COVID-19 infections, Utah reported its largest daily increase in months on Wednesday with 574 new cases.

The state's health care system is also in danger of being overwhelmed again if current case trends don't slow down.

Three more COVID-19 deaths were reported Wednesday, as well as 8,189 new vaccinations, the Utah Department of Health reports.

The 574 new cases marks the largest increase in a single day since June 23, when 527 new cases were reported. However, a data reporting delay from a state laboratory meant that about 40 of those cases were from a previous day. Before June 23, the state had not reported over 500 cases in a single day since 518 cases were reported on April 28.

The rolling seven-day average number of positive cases per day is now at 372, according to the health department. The positive test rate per day for that time period calculated with the "people over people" method is now 9.8%. The positive test rate per day for that time period calculated with the "test over test" method is now 6.5%.

There are now 247 COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized in Utah — again the highest number of hospitalizations in months, state data shows. There were 225 hospitalized COVID-19 patients on Tuesday, which had been the highest number of people hospitalized for the disease since February, according to the health department. Out of those 247 patients hospitalized Wednesday, 76 are in intensive care.

With 77% of intensive care unit beds occupied in Utah hospitals, the state's health care system is rapidly approaching critical status. ICUs begin to reach staffing capacity when they are about 70% full, according to the health department. When ICUs hit 72% capacity, it creates a major strain on the health care system, and at 85% capacity, Utah is essentially out of staffed beds in ICUs, which indicates that the health care system is overwhelmed.

As of Wednesday, state data shows about 82% of ICU beds are full at Utah's 16 referral hospitals, which are the 16 facilities in the state that have the capability to provide the best care for COVID-19 patients.

A total of 2,859,376 vaccine doses have been administered in the state, up from 2,851,187 Tuesday.

As of Wednesday, 1,577,287 Utahns, or about 49.2% of the state's total population, have received at least a first vaccine dose. A total of 1,403,870 Utahns, about 43.8% of the population, are now fully vaccinated, according to state health data. Among Utahns age 12 and older, who are currently eligible for the vaccines, 60.8% have received at least a first dose and 54.2% are fully vaccinated.

Wednesday's new numbers indicate a 0.1% increase in positive cases since Tuesday. Of the 2,795,039 people tested for COVID-19 in Utah so far, 14.9% have tested positive for COVID-19. The number of total tests conducted in Utah is now 5,104,791, up 9,242 since Tuesday. Of those, 4,775 were tests of people who hadn't previously been tested for COVID-19.

The three deaths reported Wednesday were:

  • A Salt Lake County woman between the ages of 65 and 84 and was hospitalized when she died.
  • A Salt Lake County woman between the ages of 65 and 84 and was a resident of a long-term care facility.
  • An Iron County woman between the ages of 45 and 64 and was hospitalized when she died.

Wednesday's totals give Utah 415,139 total confirmed cases since the COVID-19 pandemic began, with 17,508 total hospitalizations and 2,371 total deaths from the disease.

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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