Utah’s new COVID-19 infections hold steady, with 326 cases reported Tuesday

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Kylie Archuleta and Joshua Brimhall conduct COVID-19 testing at the University of Utah Health's Farmington Health Center on Friday, July 31, 2020.

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With 326 new coronavirus cases reported Tuesday, Utah’s rate of new diagnoses stayed above the governor’s target of fewer than 400 cases per day.

Meanwhile, more than 1,700 people in Salt Lake County have been exposed to COVID-19 in educational settings, according to a new county effort to provide more detailed information on coronavirus cases in schools.

County health officials announced they are posting the number of cases in each school district at slco.org/health/COVID-19/data/. The county health department also is providing data on each individual school, showing whether the school has reached 15 cases — the number of infections that trigger a recommendation to close. One Salt Lake County school, a charter school in Draper, has reached that threshold.

There have been 150 coronavirus cases in 34 outbreaks in Salt Lake County districts, where in-person classes are underway in four of five districts, as well as in an array of charter schools. The state defines an outbreak as two or more cases within 14 days.

The 1,700-plus people who have been exposed to COVID-19 due to those 150 cases “are therefore now quarantined for 14 days following their exposure to watch for symptoms and ensure they don’t further spread the virus,” health officials wrote in a news statement.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been 172 patients infected in 38 school outbreaks throughout the state, with a median age of 17, state health officials reported Tuesday. Eight of those patients have been hospitalized; none has died.

For the past seven days, Utah has averaged 420 new positive test results per day, the Utah Department of Health reported Tuesday. Gov. Gary Herbert had said he wanted the state to get below 400 new cases per day by Sept. 1, a threshold that Utah met in mid-August but surpassed again last week.

The virus continued to spread most quickly in Utah County, which recorded 146 new cases Tuesday — the most of any county in the state. For the past seven days, Utah County has averaged more than 23 new cases a day per 100,000 people, compared to 13 in Salt Lake County and 12 in Summit County.

Utah’s death toll from the coronavirus stood at 424 on Tuesday, with one fatality reported since Monday: a Salt Lake County man, older than 85, who lived in a long-term care facility.

Hospitalizations were down slightly Tuesday, with 115 Utah patients concurrently admitted, UDOH reported. On average, 121 patients have been receiving treatment in Utah hospitals each day for the past week, continuing a decline from the peak average of 211 patients hospitalized each day at the end of July.

In total, 3,242 patients have been hospitalized in Utah for COVID-19, up 17 from Monday.

The rate of tests with positive results was at 9.3% on Tuesday, down slightly from Monday’s 9.4%. 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 3,604 new test results reported Tuesday, below the weeklong average of 4,404 new tests per day. Testing demand has been rising in the past week but remains far below mid-July, when the state was reporting more than 7,000 new test results per day, on average.

Of 55,359 Utahns who have tested positive for COVID-19, 46,722 are considered “recovered” — that is, they have survived for at least three weeks after being diagnosed.