SALT LAKE CITY — Another 11,811 people in Utah have received COVID-19 vaccines, the Utah Department of Health reported Sunday in its latest statistics.
The state has administered 524,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, which is about 16% of the population. Yet, 160,214, or nearly 5% of Utahns, have received two doses of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines. Two doses are recommended to achieve the greatest possible immunity from disease, according to the vaccine manufacturers.
A statewide mask mandate remains in effect to limit spread of the disease, and state officials have encouraged people to upgrade their masks to N95 or KN94 certified masks, or double up on face masks to avoid further spread. New variants of the disease are proving to be more contagious and may result in more severe complications than the original SARS-CoV-2 strain detected in China in late 2019, according to researchers.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention projects that the U.K. variant of COVID-19 — B.1.1.7 — may become the predominant strain in the U.S. by March.
“Increased SARS-CoV-2 transmission might threaten strained health care resources, require extended and more rigorous implementation of public health strategies, and increase the percentage of population immunity required for pandemic control,” the CDC reports.
“Taking measures to reduce transmission now can lessen the potential impact of B.1.1.7 and allow critical time to increase vaccination coverage.”
The health department in Utah reported 710 new cases on Sunday, as well as four new deaths due to COVID-19. The state’s death toll from the virus now stands at 1,794.
The four new deaths include a Washington County woman between the ages of 45 and 64; a Utah County man between 45 and 64; a Sevier County man between 45 and 64; and a Davis County man between 65 and 84, all of whom were reportedly hospitalized at the time of their deaths, according to the health department.
The number of tests resulting in positive diagnoses has dropped significantly in the last month, with the rolling seven-day average number of positive tests now at 958 per day. The average percentage of people testing positive with COVID-19 is 14.1%, whereas, the average number of people testing positive, but not counting multiple tests for the same person, is 6.4%.
There are currently 278 people hospitalized with COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus, which is 20 fewer than was reported on Saturday.
Officials have said hospitalizations and deaths are lagging indicators of disease in the community, as they often follow a rise or fall in case numbers.
The state has tested more than 2.1 million people, with nearly 3.6 million tests, including an increase of 4,635 tested on Saturday.
Since the pandemic hit Utah last March, state and private testing efforts have identified and confirmed 361,294 cases of COVID-19, which is about 11% of the total state population.
For more information on Utah’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, visit coronavirus.utah.gov.