Coronavirus in Utah: Health officials report 388 new cases, with Utah County the biggest contributor

(Francisco Kjolseth | Tribune file photo) A limited student population begins classes at the University of Utah due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, as students are encouraged to social distance, leaving campus empty of its usual traffic on Thursday, August 27, 2020.

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On Sunday, the Utah Department of Health reported 388 new coronavirus cases and two more deaths. The state also tested 4,770 more people since Saturday.

The latest numbers bring the weekly total of new cases to 2,806, for a rolling seven-day average of 397 per day, and 16 deaths. The rolling seven-day average for the percentage of positive tests is 9.5% — a slight increase from the past two days.

State epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn has said a 3% positivity rate would indicate the virus is under control.

Two more deaths were reported Sunday, for a toll of 422:

• A Utah County woman, between 65 and 84, who was hospitalized when she died.

• A Davis County woman, between 65 and 84, who was hospitalized when she died.

Since the state started documenting school outbreaks, there have been 38 total outbreaks — a figure that ballooned earlier in the week but hasn’t increased over the past few days — resulting in 171 cases and eight hospitalizations. Of the 38 outbreaks, 27 have been reported since classes started Aug. 13. The median age in the school outbreaks is 17.

On Thursday, Brigham Young University announced 40 cases among its campus community — nearly tripling the amount of cases, which was reported at 11 the previous day. Students there have been criticized for joining parties and other gatherings without wearing masks.

As of Friday, the University of Utah reported 86 cases since Aug. 27, and Utah State University reported 38 active cases.

While the state met Gov. Gary Herbert’s goal to get the state below 400 new cases per day by Sept. 1 weeks ago, the daily numbers surpassed 400 — and even 500 — Wednesday through Saturday. Thursday and Friday’s 500-plus cases were the highest since mid-August.

While the state had seen an overall decline in cases in late July through early August, cases have started to once more trend upward since late August.

Utah County has been a big contributor to new cases. On Friday, Utah County reported 208 new cases — the largest increase of any local health district in the state on Friday, and the county’s largest single-day increase since the beginning of the pandemic.

Per population, Utah County has been leading the state in the rate of new cases for about a week.

On Friday, Salt Lake City loosened some restrictions as it shifted from “orange” to “yellow” restriction status. Sevier County, which has averaged fewer than one new case per day for several weeks, shifted from “yellow” to “green” on Friday, per orders by Herbert.

While the coronavirus has been known to put the older population at higher risk, the state’s younger population has seen the majority of cases (85%) in people ages 15 through 64. The 25- to 44-year-old demographic makes up 37% of cases, while the 15-24 and 45-64 age groups make up 24% each.

There are currently 120 people hospitalized with COVID-19 (3,207 total since the beginning of the outbreak), and 46,233 people are considered “recovered,” meaning they have survived for three weeks since being diagnosed, according to UDOH.

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