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Utah reports slight dip in new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations Monday

1,201 positive cases reported

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Phlebotomist Ethan Laudie performs a COVID-19 test at an Intermountain Healthcare COVID-19 mobile testing site outside of Orem Community Hospital in Orem on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah health officials reported slightly fewer COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations Monday compared to the record numbers over the previous five days.

Just over 1,200 new cases were reported of 5,745 tests, with a 20.9% positive rate, according to the Utah Department of Health. The rolling seven-day average for new cases now is nearly 1,500 per day (1,495) and the average positive test rate is 17%.

Monday marked the first time in five days with fewer than 1,300 new cases and fewer than 300 hospitalizations reported. However, the first two days of the week tend to bring lower case counts due to weekend testing and reporting lags.

Currently, 299 patients are hospitalized with the disease in Utah, which is nine fewer than were hospitalized on Sunday. Overall intensive care unit usage stood at 68.9% on Monday compared to 76.1% the previous day.

Utah Hospital Association officials warned Sunday that the state is approaching the need to implement crisis standards of care. That means hospitals with no room would make decisions based on triage criteria, prioritizing treatment based on the severity of patients’ cases and their likelihood of survival with or without treatment.

First responders and hospitals use triage in mass casualty situations.

“We just know that hospitalization follows disease, and so we have to think in the next week or two that we’re going to be at the maximum of even our contingency planning for ICU beds,” Greg Bell, president of the Utah Hospital Association, said.

The state’s governor and top epidemiologist took to Twitter on Monday to plead with Utahns to prevent that.

“This is NOT ok. It is maddening that we are planning to ration care in Utah. Unacceptable. We must do EVERYTHING we can to slow #COVID spread. No excuses. #MaskUpUtah #PhysicalDistancing,” Dr. Angela Dunn, epidemiologist with the Utah Department of Health, said on Twitter.

“As the spread of COVID-19 has accelerated in Utah, our hospitals are experiencing mounting pressure. I know most have not personally experienced the harrowing reality in our ICUs, but it takes all of us to reverse the trends,” Gov. Gary Herbert tweeted.

On Friday, University of Utah Health reported its ICUs were at 99% capacity. On Saturday, they rose to 101%. But numbers dropped over the weekend, and as of Monday the system’s ICUs stood at 90% capacity, according to a U. Health spokeswoman.

As Utah’s health care community faces increasing strain, infection counts in workers continue to rise. As of Monday, 7,747 cases had been confirmed in Utah’s health care workers — that is 661 more cases confirmed within the last six days. Another death was also reported, bringing the count of health care worker deaths due to COVID-19 to six.

The data includes anyone who works in a health care setting, as well as those who interact with patients, including firefighters, dentists, physical therapists and those in other technical occupations.

Now 106,083 Utahns have tested positive for COVID-19 out of 1,037,256 people tested since the start of the outbreak, with an overall positive rate of 10.2%. About 5,100 cases have required hospitalization.

Two deaths were also reported Monday — a Garfield County man between the ages of 65 and 84, and a Washington County woman between 45 and 64, both of whom were hospitalized when they died.

They bring the state’s death toll due to the disease to 574.

New COVID-19 cases reported Monday by health district:

  • Salt Lake County, 466.
  • Utah County, 234.
  • Southwest Utah, 119.
  • Davis County, 105.
  • Weber-Morgan, 94.
  • Bear River, 76.
  • Summit County, 28.
  • Wasatch County, 26.
  • Central Utah, 26.
  • Tooele County, 18.
  • TriCounty (Uinta Basin), 8.
  • Southeast Utah, 1.
  • San Juan County, 0.