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Intermountain brings on more nurses as Utah COVID-19 cases — up 2,335 Wednesday— continue to climb

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Pedestrians wear masks in downtown Salt Lake City, Monday, Nov. 9, 2020.

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Utah reported 2,335 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday with six additional deaths. And with record-high hospitalizations, Utah’s biggest health care system is bringing on 200 additional nurses.

For the past week, the state has averaged 2,584 new positive test results a day, continuing a two-week streak of new record highs, the Utah Department of Health reported.

Utah’s death toll from the coronavirus stood at 678 on Wednesday, with six fatalities reported since Tuesday:

  • A Utah County man, older than 85.

  • A Davis County woman age 65 to 84.

  • Two Salt Lake County women, ages 65 to 84.

  • Two Salt Lake County men, ages 65 to 84.

Hospitalizations continued to rise to record levels on Wednesday, with 446 Utah patients concurrently admitted, UDOH reported. In total, 6,395 Utahns have been hospitalized in Utah for COVID-19 — 111 of them in the past day alone. There have been 640 Utahns admitted into hospitals in the past week, the most of any week since the pandemic began.

Intermountain Healthcare, Utah’s largest hospital system, said Wednesday it will be hiring nearly 200 traveling nurses to boost staffs at intensive care units and hospital wards.

Intermountain recently welcomed 31 nurses from the New York-Presbyterian hospital group, who are working in ICUs, emergency rooms and medical and surgical units. In April, near the start of the pandemic, Intermountain sent 100 caregivers to hospitals in the New York area.

For the past week, 22.6% of all tests in Utah have come back positive — a record-high rate that suggests a large number of infected people are not being tested and may be infecting others unwittingly, state officials have said. That means hospitalizations may continue to rise even faster than the case counts indicate.

Utah and Salt Lake counties reported the highest number of new cases per capita in the past two weeks, followed by Weber and Sevier counties. Case rates were highest in the northern neighborhoods of Orem, where one in every 50 people has tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 16 days.

Record high two-week case counts were reported on Wednesday in Box Elder, Cache, Sevier, Davis, Salt Lake, Emery, Garfield, Summit, Tooele, Duchesne, Uintah, Utah, Wasatch, Morgan and Weber counties.

And record hospitalizations for the past seven days were reported in Salt Lake and Utah counties, as well as the Tri-County and Central Utah health districts.

There were 9,847 new test results reported Wednesday, below the weeklong average of about 11,000 tests per day.

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