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Five more Utahns have died from COVID-19 and the state added 632 coronavirus cases to its ledger Saturday.
The new cases are a big drop from the record 867 the state set Friday. Utah’s seven-day average is 614, according to the Utah Department of Health. It was 622 on Friday.
Gov. Gary Herbert has challenged residents to reduce the average to 500 new cases per day by Aug. 1.
The pandemic has now killed 212 people in Utah. The latest deaths included a Washington County woman between the ages of 25 and 44 who was not hospitalized or in a long-term care facility — an indication she was not receiving medical care when she died.
The other deaths were in Salt Lake County. Two men between the ages of 65 and 84 died. One of was hospitalized at the time of death; the other resided at a long-term care facility.
Two other men were between ages 45 and 64. One was hospitalized at the time of death. The other resided at a long-term care facility.
The recent totals are discouraging to two new widows. Karen Kirkman, of Cottonwood Heights, and her husband, Kenneth Kirkman, tested positive for the virus April 20.
Karen Kirkman has recovered, but Kenneth died May 8 at age 74.
“I almost feel like we’re all going to get it,” Karen Kirkman said Saturday. “Everyone’s going to get it. I don’t know how we can stop it.”
She encourages everyone to wear a mask and appreciates Herbert encouraging face coverings, too. Kirkman does not yet favor making masks mandatory in public.
“If [case counts] got really, really bad we would need to do something like that,” she said.
Kathy Fowers and her husband, Robert “Bob” Dudley lived in Mesquite, Nev. When Dudley, who was an enlisted man in the Air Force for 24 years, developed dementia this winter, Fowers said, she placed him in a nursing home in St. George. Soon after he went in, the facility banned visitors to keep coronavirus out.
The virus got in anyway. Fowers said her husband contracted COVID-19 at the home. Dudley died June 19 at age 84.
“People need to take [coronavirus] seriously,” Fowers said Saturday. “I know a lot of people started to believe it wasn’t even real. They just don’t take it seriously.”
The state health department said Saturday 203 people are currently hospitalized due to the coronavirus — 21 more cases than the day before. A state website shows 71% of the state’s intensive-care beds are full. Among other types of hospital beds, 53% are full.
Physicians have warned that as beds fill doctors and nurses will be overwhelmed with patients and unable to provide necessary care.
In all, Utah has had 28,855 coronavirus cases during the pandemic.