Utah reports 369 new COVID-19 cases and two more deaths

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Covid-19 testing at the Redwood Health Center on Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020.

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Another 369 Utahns have tested positive for COVID-19, while two more have died from the disease, the Utah Department of Health said Saturday in its daily report.

The new deaths being the state’s overall death toll to 385 people.

Both of the people who died lived in Salt Lake County and were residents in a long-term care facility. One was a woman older than 85, according to the health department, and the other was a man between the ages of 65 and 84.

The biggest fear of Utah’s medical leaders has been that an outbreak would result in hospitals overrun with coronavirus patients, and that intensive care units would run out of beds. As the outbreak has slowed, hitting a new lower plateau, the number of people with coronavirus in those ICUs continues to decline.

On Saturday, the Department of Health reported 56 ICU patients with COVID-19. That’s two lower than Friday and the lowest total the state has reported since first making this information public in June.

Utah’s ICUs were caring for 105 coronavirus patients on July 19, around the time hospital administrators and public health officials were sounding the alarm that if this state didn’t start taking more precautions, hospitals could run out of space to treat people.

The state added seven more cases to its tally from school outbreaks for a total of 73 infections. Those infections come from 13 outbreaks, a number that did not increase on Saturday. The state also reported five hospitalizations from those infections, while previously reporting a more generic less than five hospitalizations.

The state’s rolling seven-day average for new cases — the metric public health officials use to gauge trends — is at 354 cases per day. The weekly average remains under the governor’s target of fewer than 400 cases per day.

The number of people who have tested positive also dipped slightly from the last two days, when health officials reported more than 400 people had tested positive each day.

Since the pandemic began, 48,814 Utahns have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the health department reported.

Another 2,966 tests for the virus were processed in the past 24 hours, it said, bring the total number of tests conducted to 622,363.

The rolling seven-day average for percentage of positive laboratory tests is now 8.7% That is still nearly triple the 3% level that public health officials often say is needed to show the virus’s spread is being contained

The health department also reported that 40,352 Utahns are considered to have recovered from COVID-19, which they define as having survived for at least three weeks after being diagnosed.