Utah coronavirus cases up more than 6,000 Friday, with delayed reporting

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) A sign encouraging social distancing at City Creek in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. With office workers, visitors and shoppers in downtown Salt Lake City still way down, businesses in the core are getting inventive on ways to draw customers for the holidays.

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With 6,142 new coronavirus cases reported Friday, Utah’s rate of new diagnoses has fallen in the past two days, after the state delayed reports during the Thanksgiving holiday.

The Utah Department of Health on Friday reported a seven-day average of 2,764 new positive test results per day — below Wednesday’s rate of 3,113, and the lowest rate since Nov. 11.

But Friday marked the end of the virus’s deadliest 30-day stretch in Utah. The state’s death toll from the coronavirus stood at 849 on Friday, with 15 fatalities from around Utah reported in the two days since Wednesday:

  • A Box Elder County man, age 65 to 84.

  • A Cache County man, older than 85.

  • A Carbon County man, age 65 to 84.

  • Two Davis County men, one age 25 to 44 and the other age 65 to 84.

  • Three Salt Lake County men, two ages 65 to 84 and one age 45 to 64.

  • A Salt Lake County woman, age 65 to 84.

  • A Sevier County man, age 65 to 84.

  • A Summit County man, age 65 to 84.

  • A Utah County man, age 65 to 84.

  • A Washington County woman, age 65 to 84.

  • Two Weber County men, one age 65 to 84 and the other age 45 to 64.

Hospitalizations held steady Friday, with 569 Utah patients concurrently admitted — just one below Wednesday’s record of 570.

In total, 7,948 patients have been hospitalized in Utah for COVID-19, about 700 of them in the past week. Hospitalizations were most prevalent, per capita, in the TriCounty Health District in northeast Utah, followed by southeast Utah, southwest Utah and central Utah.

Those rural health districts reported more coronavirus hospitalizations per capita than did the Wasatch Front counties, which have the largest share of the state’s nursing homes.

For the past week, 21.3% of all tests have come back positive — a rate that has declined for the past 11 days as testing has increased.

But the tally still indicates a large number of infected people are not being tested and may be spreading the virus unwittingly; state officials have said a 3% positivity rate would suggest the virus is under control.

There were 23,644 new test results reported in the two days since Wednesday; the state has averaged about 15,000 new tests per day in the past week.

Infection rates were highest in Wasatch, Garfield, Cache, Sanpete, Utah, Sevier and Morgan counties, where at least 1 in every 70 people has tested positive for the virus in the past two weeks — meaning their cases are considered “active.”

Of the 98 “small areas” that state officials use to track local health data, the northern part of Orem had the highest rate, with active cases diagnosed in 1 in every 47 residents.

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