Live coronavirus updates for Thursday, June 4: Another jump in new cases; Utah Senate president tests positive for COVID-19 antibodies

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) A sign at Mini Mart in Ogden, Thursday, May 28, 2020.

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It’s Thursday, June 4. We’ll provide the latest coronavirus updates involving Utah throughout the day.

[Read more coronavirus coverage here.]


1:29 p.m.: SNAP recipients to get maximum benefits through June

Food stamp recipients and those eligible for them can now receive additional benefits up to the maximum allowed through the end of June, the Utah Department of Workforce Services announced Thursday.

With Gov. Gary Herbert’s extension of a state emergency declaration, Utah officials have received a waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide extra funds for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, recipients for an additional month, after boosting those benefits in April and May.

The criteria for qualifying for SNAP has not changed.

Jon Pierpont, executive director of Workforce Services, said in a prepared statement Thursday that by extending the food benefits, state officials hope to “ease the burden of access to food for some of Utah’s most vulnerable families and individuals.”

Under the enhanced help, a family of four can receive a maximum of $646 in SNAP assistance. A family of six can get up to $921 in benefits. A full table of maximum benefits can be found here.

The first supplemental payments for June will be issued on June 28, DWS said. Those who already get the maximum allotment will not see additional SNAP benefits.

Nearly 74,678 households in Utah receive SNAP aid, or approximately 169,991 residents, half of them children, a DWS spokeswoman has said.

The additional food aid is being paid through the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act, passed on March 14.

To apply for food assistance, visit jobs.utah.gov/mycase.

— Tony Semerad

1:23 p.m.: Utah reports 316 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths, and a jump in hospitalizations

Utah once again reported unusually high numbers of new coronavirus cases on Thursday, with 316 new diagnoses since Wednesday.

It’s the eighth day in a row that the state has reported jumps of more than 200 cases.

There also was a big jump in the number of people currently hospitalized for COVID-19: 118 patients were admitted as of Thursday, 23 more than the previous day. There have been 850 hospitalizations since the beginning of the pandemic. Due to reporting lags, the increase in total hospitalizations is slightly lower than the increase in ongoing hospitalizations, up 21 from Wednesday.

No deaths were reported between Wednesday and Thursday, with the state’s death toll standing at 117 people.

Test results were reported for 3,526 patients on Thursday, with a total of 227,507 Utahns tested since the beginning of the pandemic. Of the 10,813 people who have tested positive, 6,628 are considered “recovered” — that is, they have survived for at least three weeks after diagnosis, UDOH reported.

— Erin Alberty

11:30 a.m.: Utah Senate president tests positive for COVID-19 antibodies

Utah Senate President Stuart Adams has tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies, although he said in a Thursday news release that he never experienced symptoms of the disease.

“I experienced some tiredness post-session, which I assume was what I refer to as session lag,” he said in a prepared statement. “I’m grateful I’ve been diligent at social distancing and wearing a mask because I do not know if or when I had COVID-19.”

(Rick Egan | Tribune file photo) Utah Senate President Stuart Adams addresses a news conference March 20, 2020. The Layton Republican has revealed that he tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies.

Adams took an antibody test administered by University of Utah Health through the ARUP Laboratories and got the results Monday. Now, he’s trying to figure out if he can donate plasma to help COVID-19 patients and urged other people who have antibodies to do the same.

The Layton Republican also encouraged Utahns to wear a mask to prevent transmission of the virus, especially by people who are unaware they have it. And, he said, he’ll remain cautious in public places, even though the tests show he’s built up a resistance to the disease.

“I will continue to follow public health experts’ guidance and [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines," Adams said, “and wear a mask in public and observe social distancing practices.”

— Bethany Rodgers