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COVID-19 vaccination numbers increasing, but glitch allowed 7,200 not qualified to register

686 new cases, 22 new deaths reported on Saturday

Christopher Benassi and Pollyanna McNeil receive COVID-19 tests at the Utah State Fairpark in Salt Lake City on Friday, Feb. 26, 2021.
Christopher Benassi and Pollyanna McNeil receive COVID-19 tests at the Utah State Fairpark in Salt Lake City on Friday, Feb. 26, 2021. Coronavirus cases in Utah continue to decline as vaccination numbers increase.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — While another nearly 20,000 Utahns received doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the past day, an error in the registration process at Vaccinate.Utah.Gov is causing a hiccup in the process.

According to the Utah Department of Health, the online site allowed approximately 7,200 people in Utah who do not meet eligibility requirements to schedule vaccination appointments in the coming weeks.

The health department reported on Saturday that those appointments will be canceled over the next 24 hours, though several hundred people canceled their own after learning of the error on social media. The health department apologized for the confusion and said anyone who feels their appointment cancellation is a mistake should contact the local health department where they scheduled the appointment or try scheduling it again.

“We appreciate the enthusiasm Utah residents have exhibited for the COVID-19 vaccine and we strongly encourage all Utahns to get vaccinated once they become eligible,” department spokesman Tom Hudachko said on Saturday.

Utahns who are currently eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine include anyone 65 and older and anyone 16 and older who has a qualifying medical condition that puts them at higher risk for severe disease.

The health department also reported Saturday an increase of 686 COVID-19 cases, keeping with the declining trend in new cases.

A total of 702,293 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the Beehive State, which covers less than 20% of the population when the two required doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are considered. Utah has yet to issue any doses from other manufacturers, but that is expected to change soon.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was approved for emergency use authorization by the federal Food and Drug Administration on Saturday. The company said “we are ready to roll it out.” It is the first single-dose COVID-19 vaccine to become available and it should greatly speed up distribution of vaccines, particularly in more rural areas of the United States.

Gov. Spencer Cox told reporters at his weekly briefing on the coronavirus Thursday the federal government has approved more than 20,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for the state.

With the now 370,770 confirmed COVID-19 infections since the pandemic began and a supposed percentage of asymptomatic cases, about 40% of Utahns are believed to be at least partially immune to disease caused by the novel coronavirus, health officials said on Friday.

The state has tested 2.2 million people for the virus, including an increase of 6,752 reported since Friday. Multiple people require multiple tests, which means in Utah, nearly 4 million tests have been taken since the pandemic began.

The rolling seven-day average number of positive tests being reported each day is now 681. An average of 12.2% of people are turning up with positive test results, the health department reports. The average when considering multiple tests for some, the positivity rate is 5.5%.

Saturday’s report from the health department includes 22 new deaths caused by COVID-19, including 12 men and 10 women. Nineteen occurred before Feb. 6. Utah has reported 1,929 deaths from the illness since the first happened last April.

There are 223 people being treated with COVID-19 in hospitals across the state, with 89 in intensive care units. It is 19 fewer hospitalizations than numbers released a week ago show, and dozens less than the record-high hospitalizations reported at the end of 2020.

In all, 14,664 people in Utah have been hospitalized with COVID-19 since last March.

COVID-19 deaths reported on Saturday include:

  • Four Salt Lake County women between 65 and 84 who were long-term care facility residents.
  • An Emery County man between the ages of 65 and 84 who was hospitalized at the time of his death.
  • A Davis County man between 65 and 84 who was not hospitalized.
  • A Salt Lake County man between 65 and 84 who was not hospitalized.
  • A Weber County man between 45 and 64 who was a long-term care facility resident.
  • A Beaver County man older than 85 who was not hospitalized.
  • A Washington County man between 65 and 84 who was hospitalized.
  • A Salt Lake County man between 65 and 84 who was hospitalized.
  • A Washington County man between 65 and 84 who was a long-term care facility resident.
  • A Beaver County man between 65 and 84 who was hospitalized.
  • A Utah County man older than 85 who was a long-term care facility resident.
  • A Washington County man older than 85 who was not hospitalized.
  • A Weber County man between 65 and 84 who was not hospitalized.
  • A Utah County woman between 65 and 84 who was a long-term care facility resident.
  • A Cache County woman between 65 and 84 who was a long-term care facility resident.
  • A Washington County woman older than 85 who was a long-term care facility resident.
  • A Utah County woman between 65 and 84 who was hospitalized.
  • A Salt Lake County woman between 65 and 84 who was not hospitalized.
  • An Emery County woman older than 85 who was not hospitalized.