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Utah now has 5th-highest COVID-19 infection rate in country, CDC says

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Ashley Gardner, a registered nurse with Red Rock Pharmacy, gives the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Cliff Gaede, 80, at The Ridge Foothill senior living facility in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020. Gaede and his wife both had COVID-19 earlier this year and want the vaccine to prevent another infection.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — As Utah experiences its post-holiday surge, the state now ranks as having the fifth-highest rate of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. within the past week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Beehive State has confirmed 98.3 new cases per 100,000 people on average each day. The only states seeing greater numbers are Arizona, Rhode Island, South Carolina and California, the data shows.

Utah is also one of only seven states now seeing a new case rate higher than 90 per 100,000 residents for the last week, the CDC says.

On Sunday, state health officials confirmed another 2,276 coronavirus cases out of 10,056 tests results reported, with a 22.6% positive rate. The rolling seven-day average for positive tests is 3,212 per day, and the average for percent of positive laboratory tests is 31.5%. 

On Sunday, 541 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19 in the state, which is six more than were hospitalized the previous day. The state’s intensive care units are 87.3% full with coronavirus patients and others, and referral ICUs that can treat serious COVID-19 patients are 90.5% full.

Nearly 3,200 more vaccines were administered since Friday’s report, bringing the total doses given in Utah to 102,809. Currently, the vaccine is going to health care workers, residents and workers at long-term care facilities, first responders, public health workers, community health workers and tribal health care facilities.

The state’s death toll hit 1,392 on Sunday as two more deaths were reported: a Washington County man older than 85, and a Washington County woman between 65 and 84, both of whom were hospitalized when they died.

To date, 305,999 cases have been confirmed in Utah out of 1.82 million people tested, according to state data. Hospitalizations since the outbreak began total 11,866.