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Utah reports 4 new COVID-19 deaths, more than 2,100 confirmed cases

Too early to say whether state’s pandemic peak is beginning, officials say

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Hospital employees work at a drive-thru COVID-19 testing tent outside University of Utah Health’s South Jordan Health Center on Monday, March 30, 2020.

Steve Griffin, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Four more people in Utah have died of COVID-19, bringing the state’s death toll to 17, officials reported Friday.

All four fatalities were described only as men over the age of 60. Two of the men were patients in separate long-term care facilities where COVID-19 outbreaks have been investigated, said Dr. Angela Dunn, epidemiologist with the Utah Department of Health.

Another Salt Lake County man and a Utah County man were both hospitalized when they died, according to Dunn.

Just over 2,100 residents have now tested positive for the disease out of 40,762 tested, the latest numbers also show. That is about 125 more cases than reported Thursday. Positive cases among those tested continues to hover at about 5%.

On Tuesday, a University of Utah statistician working on a pandemic model for the Beehive State projected it could begin to see its peak as early as Friday and into next week.

Meanwhile, the University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s projections moved Utah’s possible peak two days back from April 25 to April 27. The institute predicts the U.S. will see its peak overall on Saturday.

When asked Friday whether the U. projection is proving true and the pandemic could already be starting to peak, Dunn said it’s too early to tell. But officials are preparing “in the event that any day we could see a huge surge,” she said.

“It’s tough to predict exactly what’s going on.”

While no models are perfect on the international, national and local levels — especially as there are only a few weeks worth of data to put into a Utah-specific model — they are telling health officials that social distancing measures are working, according to Dunn.

Meanwhile, Utah’s daily testing capacity has risen to about 5,000, she said, encouraging anyone with symptoms compatible with COVID-19 — including fever, cough, or shortness of breath — “no matter how mild” to be tested.

So far, 183 people in Utah have required hospitalization for COVID-19 at some point during the pandemic. The number of those currently hospitalized has not yet been released by the state health department, but Dunn has said officials are working with hospitals to compile that data within the next days and weeks.

Salt Lake County topped 1,000 cases of the virus on Friday, meaning almost half of the state’s cases reside there.

The breakdown of Utah COVID-19 cases by health district as of Friday:

  • Salt Lake County, 1,011; 92 hospitalized
  • Summit County, 296; 24 hospitalized
  • Utah County, 283; 17 hospitalized
  • Davis County, 180; 15 hospitalized
  • Wasatch County, 96; 5 hospitalized
  • Weber-Morgan, 90; 9 hospitalized
  • Southwest Utah, 52; 7 hospitalized
  • Bear River, 42; 8 hospitalized
  • Tooele County, 28; 3 hospitalized
  • San Juan County, 6; 2 hospitalized
  • Central Utah, 6; 1 hospitalized
  • Southeast Utah, 4; 0 hospitalized
  • TriCounty (Uinta Basin), 8; 0 hospitalized

This story will be updated throughout the day.