Coronavirus in Utah: Record-breaking week ends with a total of more than 21,000 cases

(Photo courtesy of Weber State University) Weber State University begins the first day of wide-scale COVID-19 testing for students and employees at the Ogden campus on Tuesday, November 10, 2020. Weber State had previously offered free testing for anyone with possible coronavirus symptoms. The new process will allow for free rapid testing for thousands of people even if they aren’t showing symptoms.

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Utah hit record highs in new COVID-19 infections, deaths and hospitalizations as the state ended the first week of Gov. Gary Herbert’s latest coronavirus restrictions.

In the past seven days, there have been 21,187 new cases of the coronavirus. That number stood at 16,111 just a week ago.

Since Monday, the Utah Department of Health has reported that 59 people have died from COVID-19. Last Sunday, the total number of deaths was 46 at week’s end. The death toll since the pandemic began is 718.

There are 484 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19, per the health department. A week ago, it was 424.

To date, 6,769 people have been hospitalized. Ninety-six new hospitalizations were reported Sunday, and 85% of all intensive care unit beds are currently occupied with coronavirus patients.

The week included two days when new cases surpassed 4,000. The rolling seven-day average rate for positive tests stands at 24.3%. Last week, it was at 20.6%.

The average Utahn hospitalized due to the coronavirus is 54 years old, and only slightly more than half of them have one or more preexisting conditions.

The department of health on Sunday reported 2,667 new cases of the coronavirus and eight new deaths:

  • Two Utah County men, one age 65 to 84 and one and older than 85.

  • A Cache County woman, older than 85.

  • A Garfield County man, older than 85.

  • A Salt Lake County man, older than 85.

  • A Washington County man, age 45 to 64.

  • A Washington County woman, age 65 to 84.

  • A Weber County man, age 65 to 84.

The lives of many Utahns were affected this past week as a result of the still increasing case numbers.

More than 25 schools shifted to online learning due to outbreaks among their student populations. Corner Canyon High and Farmington High were the most recent to make the shift.

The football game between the University of Utah and UCLA was canceled. And Brigham Young University’s library temporarily closed because some students weren’t wearing masks.

Conditions have gotten so dire in Utah recently that Salt Lake County, in an apparent effort to motivate people to follow health precautions meant to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, launched an initiative to share stories of people impacted by COVID-19.

Gov. Gary Herbert announced last Sunday that he was putting more restrictions in place in an effort to mitigate the spread of the virus. The new edict called for a statewide mask mandate, limited social gatherings to people in the same household, halted school-sanctioned extracurricular activities and required bars to stop serving alcohol at 10 p.m.

Herbert said Thursday that it will take the “modification of behavior” to get on the other side of the pandemic.

The order is set to expire Nov. 23, just before the Thanksgiving holiday. It’s unclear if state officials will extend the restrictions or offer other recommendations for Utahns this holiday season.

“We want people to have an enjoyable holiday season,” Herbert said Thursday, “but we also want them to have a safe, enjoyable holiday season.”

Correction • Sunday, 3:51 p.m.: An earlier version of this story incorrectly listed Sunday’s deaths.