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After a jump in new coronavirus cases on Thursday, Friday brought even more, with 463 new diagnoses reported by the Utah Department of Health.
But the weeklong average remained under the governor’s target of fewer than 400 cases per day. And although an Ogden school has instructed its students to quarantine due to a confirmed case there earlier this week, no new school outbreaks were reported by the state on Friday.
There were three new cases identified in connection with school outbreaks in Utah, with a total of 66 people infected in 13 school outbreaks since the beginning of the pandemic. There have been two outbreaks and 21 cases in Utah schools since districts began opening their doors last week for fall term.
One of those was at an Ogden charter school, where some parents received letters Wednesday urging students to quarantine until Aug. 31 because a student tested positive for COVID-19.
The school, Leadership Learning Academy, opened for the fall on Monday, said Heidi Bauerle, lead director for LLA’s two campuses in Ogden and Layton. Students can attend in person five days a week, have online classes five days a week, or do a hybrid of two days in person and three online.
Only some of the Ogden campus’s 425 students — Bauerle declined to say how many — were asked to quarantine. Students can receive online instruction while quarantined, Bauerle said. The letter advises parents to watch for COVID-19 symptoms in their child, get their child tested if symptoms develop, and have the child stay home, observe social-distancing rules and wash their hands frequently.
For the past seven days, Utah has averaged 351 new positive test results per day, the Utah Department of Health reported. Gov. Gary Herbert had said he wanted the state to get below 400 new cases per day by Sept. 1.
On Thursday, after about two weeks of daily case reports under 400, the number of statewide diagnoses jumped to 461 — driven in part by a private party in Summit County, which led to the county’s biggest spike in cases since early April, when the Park City area had more cases per capita than any other part of the state. There were 22 new cases reported Thursday in the county, and another 32 diagnosed earlier in the week, according to UDOH data.
“The surge in cases appears to be primarily associated with a private party, where face coverings were not widely used,” county health officials wrote in a news statement. “The party occurred in early August, in Park City, and shortly thereafter cases began to increase. Most cases remain in western Summit County, and are in young adults, ages 25 to 44.”
There were 3,593 new test results reported on Friday, below the weeklong average of 4,226 new tests per day. The rate of tests with positive results was at 8.9%, up 0.1% from Thursday. State epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn has said a 3% positivity rate would indicate the virus is under control.
Utah’s death toll from the coronavirus stood at 383 on Friday, with 2 fatalities reported since Thursday, both Salt Lake County men between ages 65 and 84, who died in hospitals.
Hospitalizations were down slightly on Friday, with 129 Utah patients concurrently admitted, UDOH reported.
And Intermountain Healthcare announced Friday it is relaxing its rules for visiting patients in its Utah and Idaho hospitals. The big change is that patients 18 and over who do not have COVID-19 now can have up to two designated visitors during their hospital stay, one at a time.
Visitors are still prohibited for patients with COVID-19, unless the patients are under age 18, need an adult to keep them safe, are women in labor, or nearing death. Also, people with appointments at Intermountain’s clinics and InstaCare centers can now bring one person to accompany them. Before, patients had to go alone.
On average, 144 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, 2,870 patients have been hospitalized in Utah for COVID-19, up 17 from Thursday.
Of 48,445 Utahns who have tested positive for COVID-19, 39,867 are considered “recovered” — that is, they have survived for at least three weeks after being diagnosed.