Utah reports 2,500 new COVID-19 cases Friday — and another dozen deaths

Spencer Jensen, music teacher at the Legacy Preparatory Academy receives the COVID-19 vaccine at the Davis County Legacy Center Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, in Farmington, Utah. Utah began vaccinating teachers and school staff across the state. They are aiming to have all teachers and school staff vaccinated by the end of February. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

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On the day that Utah reported its first known case of the so-called “UK variant” of COVID-19, the state recorded more than 2,500 new cases of the coronavirus and another 12 deaths.

The Utahn who contracted the coronavirus variant tested positive last month, and it was discovered by subsequent genetic testing.

On Friday, the rate of positive tests was about 3% higher than on Thursday, according to the Utah Department of Health, but it remained below 20% for the second day in a row.

Vaccinations reported in past day/total vaccinations • 9,544 / 142,751.

Cases reported in past day • 2,543.

Deaths reported in past day • 12.

The deaths reported Friday • Seven were Salt Lake County residents (two men 45-64; four men 65-84; and one woman 85+). There were two deaths in Weber County (one man and one woman 65-84) and one each in Tooele County (a woman 65-84); Utah County (a man 85+) and Washington County (a man 65-84).

Hospitalizations reported in past day • 584. That’s up 25 from Thursday. Of those currently hospitalized, 210 are in intensive care units — 16 more than on Thursday. That’s just three short of the record 213 COVID-19 patients who were in ICU units on Dec. 4.

Last week, St. George Regional Hospital exceeded its ICU capacity by 170% and saw its highest daily totals for COVID-19 deaths, with 10 patients dying from the disease in 48 hours, Dr. Patrick Carroll of Intermountain Healthcare said in a news conference Friday. Nurses from within the Intermountain system have traveled to St. George from northern Utah over the past week to assist with the surge.

Tests reported in past day • 12,985.

Percentage of positive tests • 19.58%. This is lower than the seven-day average of 25%.

Totals to date • 320,102 cases; 1,472 deaths; 12,351 hospitalizations; 1,884,601 tests.

Schools closed • Bountiful, Farmington, Layton and Viewmont high schools closed for in-person instruction because of COVID-19 cases. Students will return to school on Jan. 25. Normally the schools would try to stay open by testing more students, but since it is already a holiday weekend and Fridays are remote the district decided to go remote, according to a news release.