Utah’s coronavirus numbers rise Thursday, with 461 new cases

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Health care workers wrap up a day of COVID-19 testing at Intermountain Park City Hospital on Wednesday. There were 5,442 new test results reported on Thursday, above the weeklong average of 4,206 new tests per day.

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Utah’s rate of new diagnoses went up slightly with 461 new coronavirus cases reported Thursday, but for more than a week the average has stayed under the governor’s target of fewer than 400 cases per day.

However, with schools opening statewide, there have been new outbreaks at four schools in the past two weeks, with outbreaks at 13 schools since the beginning of the pandemic, the Utah Department of Health reported Thursday. There have been 23 new cases tied to those outbreaks, with 63 school-related cases since February.

Summit County saw 22 new cases on Thursday — the largest single-day increase since April 5, when outbreaks in the Park City area were producing more cases per capita than anywhere else in the state.

As of Thursday, it holds that distinction again, for the first time since April. County health officials did not immediately comment on whether the new cases are tied to a single outbreak, at a school or elsewhere.

For the past seven days, Utah has averaged 364 new positive test results per day, UDOH reported on Thursday. Gov. Gary Herbert had said he wanted the state to get below 400 new cases per day by Sept. 1.

The rate of tests with positive results was at 8.8% on Thursday, compared with 8.9% on Wednesday. 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 5,442 new test results reported on Thursday, above the weeklong average of 4,206 new tests per day. Testing demand has been dropping since late July, state officials and hospital administrators have said; in mid-July, the state was reporting more than 7,000 new test results per day, on average.

There were 139 Utah patients concurrently hospitalized as of Thursday, same as Wednesday, UDOH reported. On average, 150 patients have been receiving treatment in Utah hospitals each day for the past week — up slightly from the beginning of this week, but below the peak average of 211 patients hospitalized a little more than two weeks ago.

In total, 2,853 patients have been hospitalized in Utah for COVID-19, up 21 from Wednesday.

Utah’s death toll from the coronavirus stood at 381 on Thursday, with four fatalities reported since Wednesday, all residents of long-term care facilities:

  • A Salt Lake County woman, older than 85.

  • A Salt Lake County woman, age 65 to 84.

  • A Salt Lake County man, age 65 to 84.

  • A Utah County woman, age 45 to 64.

Of 47,982 Utahns who have tested positive for COVID-19, 39,364 are considered “recovered” — that is, they have survived for at least three weeks after being diagnosed.