Utah beats governor’s Sept. 1 deadline for fewer than 400 average daily diagnoses

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) People wear masks in downtown Salt Lake City on Monday, August 10, 2020, as Utah’s new coronavirus cases dropped below 300 for the first time since early June.

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The day after Utah reported the lowest number of new coronavirus cases in months, new diagnoses remained relatively low again on Tuesday, with 362 cases reported.

The state also reported four new deaths, which brought Salt Lake County’s death toll to 200.

For the past week, Utah has averaged 399 new confirmed cases per day — beating Utah Gov. Gary Herbert’s goal of reaching a seven-day average of fewer than 400 new cases per day by Sept. 1.

The rate of tests with positive results was at 8.9% on Tuesday, the same as Monday. State epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn has said a 3% positivity rate would indicate the virus is under control.

Statewide, Utah’s rate of positive tests has been above 5% since May 25, according to UDOH data.

There were 3,989 new test results reported, below the 7-day average of 4,799 new tests per day. Low testing demand has persisted in Utah since late July; in mid-July, the state was reporting more than 7,000 new test results per day, on average.

Hospitalizations were down slightly on Tuesday, with 189 Utah patients concurrently admitted, UDOH reported. On average, 193 patients have been receiving treatment in Utah hospitals each day for the past week — down from a peak average of 211 about a week and a half ago.

In total, 2,677 patients have been hospitalized in Utah for COVID-19, up 35 from Monday.

Utah’s death toll from the coronavirus stood at 349 on Tuesday, with four fatalities reported since Monday, all in Salt Lake County:

  • A man, age 45 to 64, who died in a hospital.

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

  • A woman, age 65 to 84, who lived in a long-term care facility.

  • A man, age 65 to 84, who lived in a long-term care facility.

Utah’s most populous county accounts for 57% of the state’s death toll of 349, and nearly 47% of the state’s total cases — even though Salt Lake County holds about a third of Utah’s population.

That disparity has been attributed to the county’s concentration of population, particularly in minority populations who have suffered disproportionately from the virus.

Salt Lake County, health officials have noted, also has more retirement homes and long-term care facilities, which have been hot spots for COVID-19 mortality.

Of 44,752 Utahns who have tested positive for COVID-19, 34,764 are considered “recovered” — that is, they have survived for at least three weeks after being diagnosed.