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Utah coronavirus cases up 2,110 on Wednesday, with record-high hospitalizations

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Polly Crookston working at a COVID-19 testing station at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Monday, Oct. 12, 2020.

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Utah reported 2,110 new coronavirus cases Wednesday, the second-highest increase since the pandemic began — and record hospitalizations for the fourth day in a row.

For the past week, the state has averaged 1,803 new positive test results a day, continuing a streak of new record highs, the Utah Department of Health reported. That average includes the previous record of 2,292 new cases on Oct. 30.

Utah’s death toll from the coronavirus stood at 625 on Wednesday, with six fatalities reported since Tuesday and one previous death being removed after further investigation. The new fatalities are:

  • A Salt Lake County woman, age 65 to 84.
  • A Salt Lake County man, older than 85.
  • A Utah County man, age 65 to 84.
  • A Utah County woman, age 65 to 84.
  • An Iron County man, age 65 to 84.
  • A Cache County man, age 45 to 64.

An inmate at the Utah State Prison in Draper also died Wednesday after he became infected. State corrections officials did not identify the man but reported he was 82 and also suffered from other illnesses. An autopsy is pending.

“Although the incarcerated individual had tested positive on October 30, he had reported no symptoms up until the time of death," prison officials wrote in a news statement. The man was an inmate in the prison’s Oquirrh 5 unit, where the prison on Friday reported its second coronavirus outbreak had affected some inmates in the “medically vulnerable” area.

Hospitalizations continued to rise Wednesday, with a record-high 382 Utah patients concurrently admitted, UDOH reported. On average, 341 patients have been receiving treatment in Utah hospitals each day for the past week — a figure that has risen continuously for almost a month.

In total, 5,755 Utahns have been hospitalized in Utah for COVID-19, with more than 500 of those reported in the past week.

For the past week, 19.1% of all tests have come back positive, matching Tuesday’s record high. The rate suggests a large number of infected people are not being tested, state officials have said. Statewide, Utah’s rate of positive tests has been above 5% since May 25, according to UDOH data.

In Utah County, the percent of tests with positive results was even higher — about 23%, according to county data — and it appears new cases there are rising sharply again. The county had seen cases decline about a month ago, after officials there imposed a mask order in response to a massive increase in September.

But, as of Tuesday, Utah County had nearly matched Salt Lake County, which reported the state’s highest number of new cases per capita in the past week — and Utah County was again approaching case rates similar to those at its peak.

Record-high two-week caseloads were reported within the past few days in Saratoga Springs, northern Orem, Salem, Spanish Fork, Springville, Mapleton, Payson — and the rural parts of southern Utah County, where sheriff’s deputies recently shut down a Halloween party that claimed to have drawn 10,000 people.

Record-high case rates also were reported Tuesday in Box Elder, Cache, Sanpete, Davis, Salt Lake, Carbon, Emery, Washington, Beaver, Summit, Tooele, Uintah and Weber Counties. And record one-week hospitalizations were reported in Salt Lake, Tooele, Weber and Morgan counties, as well as the Southwest Utah Health District.

There were 6,559 new test results reported Wednesday, below the weeklong average of about 8,500 new tests per day.

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