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Utah's rolling 7-day average for COVID-19 cases surpasses 1,100

Signage reminds students of various COVID-19 procedures, like masking and social distancing, at Nibley Park School in Salt Lake City on Tuesday. Utah reported 1,585 new cases Wednesday, including 374 in school-age children.

Signage reminds students of various COVID-19 procedures, like masking and social distancing, at Nibley Park School in Salt Lake City on Tuesday. Utah reported 1,585 new cases Wednesday, including 374 in school-age children. (Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)



Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's coronavirus cases continued rising Wednesday as health officials confirmed 1,585 new cases, as well as 12 new deaths.

The latest case numbers include 374 school-age children — 163 ages 5-10, 82 ages 11-13, and 129 ages 14-18, the Utah Department of Health said.

The more-contagious delta variant is responsible for the vast majority of cases, based on sequencing in Utah and the U.S., said Dr. Emily Spivak, associate professor of medicine at University of Utah Health.

Early evidence also shows the delta variant might cause more serious disease in the unvaccinated, she said.

Cases requiring hospitalization at U. Health have increased since spring and early summer, the doctor said, and case rates have gone up in people ages 5 to 15, compared to this time last year.

"We're barely — and in some places not even into the school year yet, only a day or two in — and with our fairly low vaccination rates in the state of Utah, as well as schools opening in congregate settings ... many, unfortunately, without masks, I think we are going to see nothing but an increase, unfortunately, in that age group, and maybe even a steepening of the curve," Spivak said.

Summer typically tends to be a busy season in intensive care units due to a higher number of trauma patients, she said, but they have seen an uptick of COVID-19 patients throughout the state, increasing the strain.

She said Primary Children's Hospital is full, partially due, however, to a recent flood that caused the loss of 50 beds. Other viral infections are also active in the community, including RSV, placing more of a strain on the state's only children's hospital, Spivak said.

But, evidence shows having family members who are vaccinated will help protect young children from COVID-19, according to Spivak.

Stephen Goldstein, evolutionary virologist and postdoctoral researcher at the U.'s School of Medicine, noted that 80-85% of residents need immunity from the coronavirus to reach herd immunity thresholds for the community.

More than 1.5 million Utahns are fully vaccinated for the disease — or 55.8%, health department data show.

Many who received their first doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines will be able to receive a booster shot in the fall. Discussions are ongoing regarding boosters for anyone who received the single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

"I think these boosters, the primary help is going to be for people who are already vaccinated and bolstering the protection these people have on an individual level. It's going to do much less on the population level, because these people are already pretty substantially protected, even from the delta variant," Goldstein said.

Reaching people who haven't been vaccinated at all, however, will create a larger impact in slowing the spread of the disease in the community, he said.

New case data

Wednesday's 1,585 new cases were confirmed out of 10,411 people tested, which is a 15.5% positive rate. The rolling seven-day average for new cases now stands at 1,122, and the average percent positivity of people getting tested is 15.1%.

There have been 2,605 deaths due to COVID-19 in the state since the pandemic outbreak first hit Utah in 2020. One of the newly-confirmed deaths reported on Wednesday occurred before August, the health department reported.

Health care workers administered 10,904 vaccines since Tuesday's reported numbers, bringing total vaccines administered to 3,212,528 across the state. Through the last 28 days, people who are unvaccinated have been at five times greater risk of dying from COVID-19, 6.5 times greater risk of being hospitalized due to COVID-19, and 4.9 times greater risk of testing positive for COVID-19 than vaccinated people, according to the state health department.

Of the cases confirmed Wednesday, 294 were breakthrough cases, meaning they were fully vaccinated, state health department data show. Eleven additional hospitalizations were among breakthrough patients, and three of the newly confirmed coronavirus fatalities were also people who were fully vaccinated.

Data shows that breakthrough cases have been confirmed in 9,041 people in Utah, 510 of whom have required hospitalization and 45 who have died. That is out of 1,514,029 people fully vaccinated.

On Wednesday, 471 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 throughout the state, 189 of whom being treated in intensive care units. Referral ICUs that can handle the most serious patients were 87% full overall. Nonintensive units were 59.5% full.

The latest deaths include:

  • Davis County man, older than 85, hospitalized.
  • Utah County man, 45-64, hospitalized.
  • Davis County man, 65-84, hospitalized.
  • Salt Lake County man, 45-64, hospitalized.
  • Salt Lake County man, 45-64, hospitalized.
  • Millard County man, 25-44, hospitalized.
  • Davis County woman, 45-64, hospitalized.
  • Salt Lake County woman, 25-44, hospitalized.
  • Millard County woman, 65-84, hospitalized.
  • Utah County man, 65-84, hospitalized.
  • Juab County man, 25-44, hospitalized.
  • Salt Lake County man, older than 85, long-term care facility resident.

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