More than 500,000 Utahns have been tested for COVID-19 as state reports 661 more cases, 1 new death

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Healthcare workers test patients for the coronavirus at the Midtown Communtiy Health Center in Ogden, July 18, 2020.

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The number of Utahns tested for COVID-19 surpassed 500,000 Saturday as the Department of Health reported 661 more cases and one additional death.

And for the first time since late May, the overall number of cases for white Utahns has surpassed the number of cases among Hispanic Utahns. Pacific Islander and Hispanic residents are still among the hardest hit groups by the virus.

The state now has had a total of 37,623 cases and 274 deaths. The new death was a Davis County man, age 65 to 84, who lived in a long-term care facility.

There were 202 Utah patients hospitalized, down from 225 on Friday, a new record. In total, 2,213 Utahns have been admitted to hospitals for COVID-19.

The state saw a drop in the number of people in intensive care units at 79, down from 97 the day before. The last time there were that few COVID-19 patients in ICUs was July 9.

The number of positive cases in Utah’s Hispanic community topped those of any other race or ethnicity at the end of May. But for the past few weeks, white residents have seen a greater daily share of cases. On Saturday, white Utahns reported 14,676 cases, while Hispanic Utahns had 14,641.

The virus has disproportionately affected minority communities. Hispanics make up 14.2% of the state’s population but account for 38.9% of cases. Meanwhile, Pacific Islanders and Native Hawaiians are 1.6% of the population and make up 3.9% of cases.

Pacific Islanders and Native Hawaiians also have the second highest hospitalization rate at 109.7 per 1,000 cases. American Indians and Alaska Natives have the highest rate, with 131.8, according to data released Saturday. The statewide rate is 58.8.

American Indians and Alaska Natives also had the highest mortality rate Saturday, with 29.1 per 100,000 population, slightly higher than Pacific Islanders and Native Hawaiians at 27.9. The statewide mortality rate was 8.7.

The overall seven-day average in Utah was 615 new cases per day, slightly up from Friday’s average of 614. Gov. Gary Herbert has said he wants the state’s seven-day average to be below 500 new cases per day by Aug. 1.

For the past week, 9.2% of new tests came back positive, which is a slight increase from Friday’s average of 9.1%.

Of 37,623 Utahns who have tested positive for COVID-19, 24,390 are considered “recovered” — that is, they have survived for at least three weeks after being diagnosed.