With 867 new COVID-19 cases, Utah sets another record Friday

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) The University of Utah places signs around campus to encourage people to wear masks on Wednesday, July 8, 2020, as coronavirus cases continue to rise in the state of Utah.

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With 867 new coronavirus cases reported Friday, Utah reached another record increase two days after Wednesday’s spike of 722.

And with the state’s seven-day average of new cases leaping from 585 to 622 on Friday, the state is straying even further from Gov. Gary Herbert’s “challenge” of dropping to an average 500 new cases per day by Aug. 1.

”We all have the responsibility to do our individual part to help turn the tide of our ongoing spike in cases. Our hospitals need our cooperation and our high-risk populations need our cooperation,” state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn wrote in a prepared statement.

“I know we can turn this trend around, and we can do it by practicing physical distancing, wearing masks, staying home and away from others when we are sick, and washing our hands regularly,” she added, repeating the advice officials have been urging for weeks.

The surge of new cases is not isolated to any one area. Salt Lake, Utah and Davis counties and the Central Utah Health Department all posted their highest single-day increases Friday; Tooele County, and the Southeast Utah and Weber-Morgan health departments Friday all posted their highest-yet seven-day averages for daily new cases.

Meanwhile, Summit and San Juan counties and the Bear River Health Department each posted their highest seven-day averages since major outbreaks there earlier in the pandemic had seemingly resolved.

For the past week, San Juan, Millard, Salt Lake, Weber and Washington counties each averaged more than 20 new daily cases per 100,000 people.

Millard County is one of the 10 counties that Herbert shifted to a risk rating of “green,” or “new normal,” on June 20. Since then, the county’s number of confirmed cases has mushroomed by more than 800%. The county of 13,000 people had more than 80 cases as of Thursday.

Hospitalizations rose sharply Friday, with 48 new admissions reported. There were 187 patients occupying Utah’s hospitals on Friday, up 10 from Thursday.

The Utah Department of Health reported two new deaths, bringing the state’s total to 207. They are:

• A Washington County man, between ages 65 and 84, who died in a hospital.

• A Salt Lake County woman, older than 85, who lived in a long-term care facility.

Drastic racial disparities persist. Despite comprising about 14% of Utah’s population, Hispanic people accounted for 40% of hospitalizations — the same share as white people, who make up 78% of the population.

Patients are skewing slightly younger, with 15- to 24-year-olds this week comprising about 24% of new cases — now a bigger share than 45- to 64-year-olds.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, patients ages 25 to 44 have accounted for the biggest share of new cases — about 40%. However, patients ages 45 to 64 still make up the largest share of hospitalizations of any age group, at about 35%.

Of the 28,223 Utahns who have tested positive for COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, 16,261 are considered “recovered” — that is, they have survived for at least three weeks after being diagnosed.