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Saturday marked the first day that most of Utah moved into the low-risk “yellow” coronavirus safety level — a shift that has brought increasing optimism to some and accusations of premature relaxation from others.
There are cases to be made for either side.
On the one hand, Sunday saw the Utah Department of Health announce that two more people have died as a result of COVID-19, and that there are 170 new positive diagnoses of the disease in the state.
On the other side, UDOH also announced that there are now about 4,075 cases deemed “recovered.” A person with a diagnosis date of more than three weeks ago, who has not passed away, is considered recovered.
Considering those numbers in a vacuum don’t really provide any context, though. Perhaps a look at how Utah has been trending over the past week is in order.
Utah’s seven-day average of new cases had been trending downward of late — until Sunday, anyway. In recent days, we’d gone from an average of 146.43 to 142.0 to 137.86. However, Sunday’s 170 new cases — the second-highest single-day total of the past week — bumped the average back up to 141.0. (There have now been 7,238 total positive cases in Utah.)
Still, considering Utah was averaging 153.71 new cases per seven days exactly one week ago, this trend could be viewed as representing some measure of progress.
There were also eight new hospitalizations announced from Saturday to Sunday, bringing that total to 586. However, the number of patients currently hospitalized remained steady at 103. The percentage of total positive cases to be hospitalized has remained fairly steady over the past week. On Sunday, May 10, it was 8.19%; as of Sunday, May 18, it’s 8.10%.
Those “estimated recoveries” are potentially another reason for optimism.
As previously mentioned, as of Sunday, May 18, the total number of “recovered” cases was up to 4,075; one week prior, that total was at 3,181. In that span, we’ve gone from an estimated recovery percentage of 50.0% to 56.3%.
Conversely, there is no getting around the deaths.
The past seven days have seen 13 more Utahns die from COVID-19; the death toll has risen from 67 to 80 total in that time.
The death rate has seen a minuscule uptick in that same time frame, going from 1.07% a week ago to 1.11% on Sunday.
According to UDOH, Sunday’s two new deaths include a 60- to 85-year-old male who had been hospitalized at the time of his death, and a female older than 85 who was a resident of a long-term care facility prior to death. Both were Salt Lake County residents.
Utah labs have now conducted 170,753 total tests — an increase of 3,978 from Saturday. The rate of positives is at 4.2% of total people tested.
Nationwide, the United States was up to 1,480,873 total cases and 89,318 deaths as of Sunday at 1:30 p.m., according to Johns Hopkins University — a 6.0% mortality rate. One week ago, the U.S. had approximately 1.329 million cases.