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Utah health officials report big jump in hospitalized COVID-19 patients

1,007 new cases, 8 new deaths also reported Wednesday

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Phlebotomist David Sagae checks a vial of saliva 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 — Another 1,007 cases of COVID-19 were announced in Utah on Wednesday, including a record number of newly hospitalized patients with the virus.

To date, more than 80,446 cases have been confirmed throughout the state.

The rolling seven-day average number of positive tests per day is 1,044, the highest it has been since the Utah Department of Health began tracking weekly averages. The rolling seven-day average for percent of positive lab tests is 13.8%.

The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Utah jumped by 55 on Wednesday, with 226 people currently being treated with COVID-19 in hospitals throughout the state.

Health officials have said that hospitalizations are a lagging piece of data, expected to occur weeks after a surge in cases in the community, which is seemingly the case with numbers reported on Wednesday.

The health department also reported another eight deaths resulting from the novel coronavirus, bringing the state’s total number of lives lost to COVID-19 to 496.

Among the new deaths are four from Salt Lake County, including a woman older than 85 unknown if she was hospitalized, another woman between age 65 and 84 who was hospitalized at the time of her death, a man between the ages of 45 and 64, and a man between ages 65 and 84, both of whom were hospitalized at the time of their deaths; two women from Utah County, one between 65 and 84 years old who was hospitalized at the time of her death, and the other over age 85 who was a resident at a long-term health care facility; a Millard County woman over age 85 who was not hospitalized when she died from COVID-19; and a Washington County woman older than 85 who was also a resident at a long-term health care facility at the time of her death.

Rural Wayne County has yet to report a single case of COVID-19 and very low incidence has been reported out of its neighboring Beaver County. A moderate number of cases have been reported in eastern Utah, whereas much of the remainder of the state is currently experiencing high or very high risk of disease, according to health department data.

A record number of new cases reported in a single day was hit on Sept. 25, with 1,411 cases, though many of them were said to be a result of backlogged data.

Surges of cases are reported among all age groups in Utah, but most particularly among youth and young adults ages 15 to 24. A handful of schools have shut their doors to carry out the recommended two-week quarantine period after case thresholds were met.

The greatest number of hospitalizations occur in Salt Lake County, where the greatest number of hospitals in the state also exists.

After large numbers of cases were coming out of Provo and Orem, closely tied to universities there, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert moved those cities to orange or moderate risk level, as pertaining to the statewide color-coded economic recovery plan. Local health officials in Utah County also issued a mask mandate, requiring face coverings whenever social distancing isn’t possible.

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall has asked Herbert to move the state’s capital city back, as well, after a surge in cases has brought new daily records and is believed by the mayor to compromise the safety of citizens. The governor has not issued a decision on the Salt Lake request made Tuesday.

Salt Lake County has had a mask mandate in place since June and officials have already extended it through the end of the year, and possibly beyond.

New COVID-19 cases reported by health district across Utah:

  • Salt Lake County, 488.
  • Utah County, 285.
  • Davis County, 108.
  • Southwest Utah, 56.
  • Weber-Morgan, 54.
  • Bear River, 30.
  • Central Utah, 28.
  • Tooele County, 15.
  • Summit County, 12.
  • Wasatch County, 10.
  • TriCounty (Uinta Basin), 7.
  • San Juan County, 3.
  • Southeast Utah, 1.

This story will be updated.