Nine more Utahns die of the coronavirus, state sets new hospitalization record

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune). Shoppers wear masks as they shop in downtown Salt Lake City on Friday, Nov. 6, 2020.

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The Utah Department of Health reported another round of dismal statistics as Utah continues to struggle in keeping the coronavirus at bay.

The state had 2,956 new COVID-19 cases, just 31 infections short of yesterday’s record-setting numbers. Current hospitalizations were at 410, breaking Friday’s record of 395. Nine more Utahns died, including:

  • Three Salt Lake County males, one older than 85, one 65-84 and one 45-64.

  • One Salt Lake County female, between 45-64.

  • Two Davis County males, both between 65-84.

  • One Juab County female, between 65-84.

  • One Utah County female, between 65-84.

  • One Utah County male, older than 85.

The state is averaging 2,213 infections each week. The rolling weekly average of positive tests has jumped up to 19.9%.

The state has endured three brutal days that included a total of 33 deaths and three highest case counts of the pandemic, the past two on the brink of 3,000. Before Thursday, the record number of daily cases was 2,349, set on Oct. 29.

There have been 54 Utah coronavirus deaths reported in the past seven days, making it the virus' deadliest week here since the pandemic began. And with more than 150 deaths in the past month, Saturday also marks the end of the deadliest 30-day stretch.

A surge in infections has hit nearly every health district on the Wasatch Front. Salt Lake County, Utah’s most populous health district, has reported more than 1,000 cases each day since Thursday. Utah County jumped from 407 new cases Wednesday to 748 new cases Saturday. The Weber-Morgan Health District has also seen a spike from 124 new cases reported Tuesday to 197 Wednesday, and more than 200 cases each day since. In Davis County, daily infections went from 190 Wednesday to 274 by Saturday. The Bear River district has reported more than 100 new cases every day since Wednesday.

Gov. Gary Herbert vowed Friday to announce policies “in the coming days” to address the rapid spread of the virus. A mandate requiring Utah college students to get tested weekly is expected to come early next week.

The University of Utah football team also canceled its long-delayed season opener against Arizona Saturday due to an outbreak among its athletes.

The state Health Department reported intensive care units at 76.6% occupancy on Saturday, a 1 percentage point increase since yesterday, but the figure reflects statewide ICU capacity and does not necessarily mean empty beds are located in areas with the most demand or that they have the medical workers and resources needed. COVID-19 patients currently occupy 175 ICU beds, a new record.

The median age of those hospitalized to date is 56. The largest age group accounting for daily COVID-19 cases is those 15 to 24 years old.

Reporter Erin Alberty contribute to this story.