PROVO, Utah – Utah wrapped up a tumultuous week in regards to the coronavirus by adding 1,819 cases to the tally, meaning a total of 18,599 new cases were reported in the week after the Christmas holiday.
Overall, there have been 283,473 counted cases of coronavirus in Utah, meaning about 1 in 11 Utah residents has tested positive for the virus since the pandemic began. Officials expect that somewhat understates the number of people who have actually contracted the virus, as testing has sometimes been limited and frequently misses asymptomatic cases.
However, despite the high case count, Utah ranks just 45th in the nation in terms of deaths per capita. Utah’s relatively young, healthy population has meant those who get the coronavirus are less likely to die than in other states. In terms of testing, Utah ranks 20th per capita.
The week following Christmas has also seen Utah’s positive rates reach new highs. Sunday’s report saw an increase of 4,802 tests, which means a positive rate of 37.8%. The Utah Department of Health says the state’s seven-day positivity rate is 29.2%.
Seven Utahns were reported to have died since Saturday due to the coronavirus, bringing the weekly tally to 87 and the overall tally to 1,301. Sunday’s new deaths were:
• Three Washington County men, two between 65 and 84, and one older than 85.
• Two Utah County men, one between 65 and 84, the other older than 85.
• A Salt Lake County man who was older than 85.
• A Weber County woman between 65 and 84.
Meanwhile, 486 people were reported as hospitalized with the virus on Sunday. Referral center hospital intensive care units are at 86.4% capacity, still higher than the 85% benchmark where hospital officials can effectively staff the beds available.
Local officials have also been disappointed in the speed of vaccination. Rich Lakin, immunization program manager for the Utah Department of Health, said at a news briefing Wednesday that Utah’s vaccination numbers have been “slower than what we had anticipated, and slower than what we wanted. But we are picking up some steam.”