PROVO, Utah – The Utah Department of Health has reported five more deaths caused by the coronavirus, bringing the state’s total COVID-19 death toll to 2,202.
Two of the five deaths occurred before April 1 and were only recently confirmed to be the result of the coronavirus, according to Friday’s UDOH report.
Roughly 41% of eligible Utahns ages 16 and over have been fully vaccinated against the virus, receiving either both doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines or the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. (That’s based on the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 demographic estimates for the state.)
About 29% of all Utahns are fully immunized, based on a recently released U.S. Census number for the state’s total population.
Vaccine doses administered in past day/total doses administered • 21,945 / 2,146,777.
Utahns fully vaccinated • 937,217.
Cases reported in past day • 338.
Deaths reported in past day • Five.
Salt Lake County reported two deaths — a man and a woman between the ages of 65-84. Utah County also reported two deaths — another man and another woman 65-84.
In Davis County, a woman 85-plus died.
Tests reported in past day • 5,603 people were tested for the first time. A total of 12,091 people were tested.
Hospitalizations reported in past day • 145. That’s up three from Thursday. Of those currently hospitalized, 65 are in intensive care units, four more than on Thursday.
Percentage of positive tests • Under the state’s original method, the rate is 6.0%. That’s lower than the seven-day average of 6.6%.
The state’s new method counts all test results, including repeated tests of the same individual. Friday’s rate was 2.8%, lower than the seven-day average of 3.5%.
The Davis County Health Department will start allowing walk-in patients at its COVID-19 mass vaccination site at the Legacy Events Center, 151 S. 1100 West in Farmington, starting Monday.
Davis County residents are still encouraged to make appointments online to get the vaccine — but the department will no longer turn away people who have not signed up in advance.
The Legacy Events Center will also be changing its hours in May. The center’s current hours — 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday — will be extended to 8 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays for two weeks. Starting the week of May 17, the Thursday and Friday hours will change to 1-8 p.m. Starting May 24, the center will be closed Mondays through Wednesdays, and be open Thursdays and Fridays from 1 to 8 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The change is part of a gradual statewide move away from mass vaccination sites toward reaching out to smaller community groups and less accessible populations, announced Thursday by Gov. Spencer Cox.
Another move in that direction came Thursday, when the Salt Lake County Health Department announced it would be closing its mass vaccination site at the Salt Palace Convention Center in downtown Salt Lake City on May 29. Salt Lake County will continue to operate mass sites at the Maverik Center in West Valley City and the Mountain America Expo Center in Sandy — and will allow walk-ins at the Sandy site from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday, starting on Monday.
Also on Friday, Intermountain Healthcare threw a virtual “reunion” for doctors and nurses who came to each other’s aid in New York and Utah last year, in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“They were really in the trenches. They were getting through it and helping each other,” Dr. Dixie Harris, a critical care intensive-care unit physician at Intermountain, said of her counterparts at Northwell Health, the New York hospital system where 100 Intermountain’s health care workers worked in March 2020.
Libbey Steed, a nurse at Intermountain, said everyone in New York pitched in, regardless of their medical specialty. Steed recalled working with a post-anesthetic care unit (PACU) nurse in an intensive-care unit.
“I said, ‘I’m an E.R. nurse, I don’t know what I’m doing,’” Steed recalled. “She said, ‘I’m a PACU nurse. I don’t either, but we’ll get it.’ That was the attitude of our entire time in New York.”
In August, when Utah was starting to see its case counts rise, Northwell returned the favor, sending some 30 nurses to lend a hand at Intermountain.
“This was our turn to give back the help that we got,” said Madison Montague, a cardio-thoracic ICU nurse at New York’s Lenox Hill Hospital.
Dr. Wing Province, an emergency-medicine physician at Intermountain, said that “now when I wear a ‘I Love New York’ shirt, I mean it from the bottom of my heart.” Province joked that “after last night’s NFL Draft, I think half of Utah is now a New York Jets fan,” referring to the Jets picking former Brigham Young University quarterback Zach Wilson in the first round.