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514 more COVID-19 cases, 2 deaths reported Monday in Utah



PROVO, Utah – Utah’s number of COVID-19 cases increased by 514 on Monday, with two more deaths reported, according to the Utah Department of Health.

There are now an estimated 30,559 active cases of the disease in Utah. The rolling seven-day average number of positive cases per day is now at 1,133, according to the health department. The positive test rate per day for that time period is now 15.4%.

There are 308 COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized in Utah, including 112 in intensive care, state data shows. About 73% of Utah’s intensive care unit hospital beds are now filled, including about 79% of ICU beds in the state’s 16 referral hospitals, state data shows. About 50% of Utah’s non-ICU hospital beds are occupied Monday.

A total of 417,024 vaccines have been administered in the state, up from 413,937 Sunday. Of those, 103,806 are second doses of the vaccine, according to state data.

The new numbers indicate a 0.1% increase in positive cases since Sunday. Of the 2,079,688 people tested for COVID-19 in Utah so far, 17.1% have tested positive for the disease. The state has conducted 3,480,503 total tests since the beginning of the pandemic, up 7,216 since Sunday. Of those, 3,653 were tests of people who had not previously been tested for COVID-19, according to the health department.

The health department has been using a calculation known as the “people over people” method for calculating the seven-day average positive test rate for COVID-19. This method is calculated by dividing the number of people who have tested positive for the disease by the total number of people tested and is reported at 15.4% for Monday.

However, since the “people over people” method is only counting unique people who have tested positive for the disease and the unique number of tests, it doesn’t account for people who have had repeat positive or negative tests in the past 90 days, according to the health department.

Monday, the health department introduced a new method for calculating this statistic, known as the “test over test” method. This method is calculated by dividing the total number of positive tests by the total number of tests administered, and is reported at 7.3% Monday.

Since the “test over test” method includes duplicate tests, it biases the seven-day positivity average lower, according to the health department. However, it also better reflects Utah’s increased COVID-19 testing capacity since it accounts for duplicate positive and negative tests. The “people over people” method skews the positivity rate higher, since duplicate negative tests aren’t counted.

The true average is somewhere in the middle of the average reported by both methods, health department state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn said. While the numbers are different, the trends for both methods are fairly similar, she added. The health department will continue to report both methods for calculating the average.

At least 37 other states are using the “test over test” method, so using it for Utah’s cases will allow for a better comparison of Utah’s pandemic to that of other states, the health department said.

The World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that a positivity rate of 3-5% is needed to indicate that a state or other jurisdiction has the pandemic under control, and that benchmark is based on the test over test method, according to Dunn.

One of the deaths reported Monday was a Washington County man who was between the ages of 65 and 84 and was hospitalized when he died. The other death was a Utah County woman who was between the ages of 45 and 64 and was hospitalized when she died.

Monday’s totals give Utah 355,122 total confirmed cases, with 13,889 total hospitalizations and 1,738 total deaths from the disease. An estimated 322,825 Utah COVID-19 cases are now considered to be recovered, the health department reported.

There is not a COVID-19 news conference scheduled for Monday. Utah officials typically provide updates at news conferences once a week on Wednesdays or Thursdays.