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Scientists have identified nearly 300 coronavirus variant cases in Utah

State health officials report 344 new cases of COVID-19 and 19,328 more vaccinations.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Jonathan Pimble, AEMT, administers a Covid -19 vaccination to Jerome Little, during a resource fair on Rio Grande Street, on Tuesday, March 30, 2021.

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The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) announced 344 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, along with just under 20,000 new vaccinations — a new record for reported vaccinations on a Sunday.

But an issue with one of the state’s health care reporting systems resulted in an unusually low number of hospitalizations, with just 43 coronavirus-related hospitalizations tallied on Sunday after 143 were tallied Saturday. UDOH expects that the issue will be resolved late Sunday or Monday.

Noteworthy among the new numbers announced by the state is the number of people who have tested positive for variants of COVID-19. On Sunday, 63 new positive tests of the B.1.1.7 variant (first identified in the U.K.) were reported, along with one new positive test of the P.1 variant (first identified in Brazil). Overall, while only a small proportion of Utahns who have tested positive for the coronavirus are also tested for variants, scientists have found 291 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant and now four cases of P.1. in Utah.

Overall, 20.6% of Utahns have been fully vaccinated, and 28.5% of those who are eligible. But Utah is nearing 50% uptake in terms of those people getting at least some immunity from one dose of the vaccine. Out of Utah’s total population, 33.6% have received one shot, as well as 46.2% of Utah’s eligible population.

Vaccine doses administered in past day/total doses administered • 19,328 / 1,703,065.

Utahns fully vaccinated • 679,331.

Cases reported in past day • 344.

Deaths reported in past day • 0.

Tests reported in past day • 4,379 people were tested for the first time. A total of 8,131 people were tested.

Hospitalizations reported in past day • Unknown. On Sunday, the Utah Department of Health announced that 43 people are currently hospitalized due to the virus, after reporting 143 on Saturday. But the state also said that they had identified an issue with one of the health care systems that impacts the daily hospitalization survey, which artificially lowered the number. The state expects to get everything operational later Sunday or Monday.

Percentage of positive tests • Under the state’s original method, the rate is 7.9%. That’s higher than the seven-day average of 7.2%.

The state’s new method counts all test results, including repeated tests of the same individual. Sunday’s rate was 4.2%, higher than the seven-day average of 3.6%.

[Read more: Utah is changing how it measures the rate of positive COVID-19 tests. Here’s what that means.]

Totals to date • 390,104 cases; 2,159 deaths; 15,760 hospitalizations; 2,447,347 people tested.

The news comes among a landmark week in the state’s fight against the coronavirus, as the “COVID endgame” bill passed in the state Legislature early in the year took effect.

The statewide mask mandate expired Saturday, except for people gathering in groups of 50 or more, or in Utah schools. Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall also issued an emergency proclamation continuing the mandate in the city.

However, many businesses announced that they will still require masks for the time being even outside of Salt Lake City, including most grocery stores. Masks will also still be required in all state-run buildings (like liquor stores and Division of Motor Vehicles locations), on UTA’s public transportation, and in Salt Lake City International Airport. Libraries, zoos, museums and most major Utah movie theater chains are still requiring masks. And face coverings are required at Jazz, Bees and Real Salt Lake games.

“I will continue wearing a mask until I’m fully vaccinated and the people I’m around are fully vaccinated because I want to protect them and avoid getting the coronavirus,” Utah Gov. Spencer Cox told FOX 13. “Again, mask mandates does not mean no masks. I think that’s a mistake we make. So we still encourage people even when the mask mandate goes away to be safe and wear masks, get vaccinated and then we can’t wait for all of us to get rid of our masks soon.”

Editor’s note: The Salt Lake Tribune and FOX 13 are content-sharing partners.



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