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About 9,000 more Utahns were vaccinated against the coronavirus on Wednesday, according to the Utah Department of Health — and one more person has died of COVID-19. There were also 313 new cases reported.
UDOH also reported that 1.271 million Utahns are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, and 1.521 million have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
State officials Thursday repeated their calls for all Utahns to get vaccinated, pushing to get 70% of all adults at least one dose of the vaccine by July 4.
Vaccine doses administered in past day/total doses administered • 9,182 / 2,676,026.
Utahns fully vaccinated • 1,271,608.
Cases reported in past day • 313.
Deaths reported in past day • One — a man between the ages of 45-64 in Davis County.
Tests reported in past day • 4,171 people were tested for the first time. A total of 7,261 people were tested.
Hospitalizations reported in the past day • 155. That’s two fewer than on Wednesday. Of those currently hospitalized, 55 are in intensive care, one fewer than on Wednesday.
Percentage of positive tests • Under the state’s original method, the rate is 7.5%. That’s higher than the seven-day average of 6.6%.
The state’s new method counts all test results, including repeated tests of the same individual. Thursday’s rate was 4.3%, the same as the seven-day average.
Totals to date • 408,741 cases; 2,319 deaths; 17,038 hospitalizations; 2,728,178 people tested.
It’s unclear but “certainly possible” that the current rise in COVID-19 cases — Thursday’s 7-day average case count of 276 per day was well above last week’s average of 208 per day — can be blamed on the Memorial Day holiday, said Dr. Michelle Hofmann, UDOH’s deputy director.
“We’ve certainly had that experience in the past, far worse than we did this Memorial Day weekend,” Hofmann said Thursday at the state’s now-biweekly COVID-19 media briefing. “We also know fewer people are wearing masks, and that we have many Utahns still unvaccinated.”
Hofmann and Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson stressed the need for more Utahns to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Too many people are waiting to get vaccinated,” Henderson said. “That can potentially let variants take hold in the population, and start this pandemic all over again. We do not want to go back to where we were last year.”
In the last week, Henderson said, 16,929 doses of vaccine were administered. “That’s a big drop from what we’ve been used to,” she said, adding that the state needs to give out 51,000 doses a week to reach the goal of 70% of adults at least partially vaccinated by July 4.
Henderson said the state is encouraging Utah businesses “to lead by example, to encourage your employees, to make it easy for them to access vaccinations.”
The state is urging businesses, as well as community and religious groups, to play host to state-funded pop-up vaccination clinics before July 4, Henderson said. She added that businesses should offer incentives, such as paid time off, to their employees — something many companies are already doing.
A month ago, Gov. Spencer Cox had shown enthusiasm for the state offering direct incentives — such as Ohio’s $1 million lottery-style prize drawing — for people getting the vaccine. However, Henderson said Thursday, “the legislature kind of put the kibosh on the state providing any kind of incentives for people.”
Henderson added, “Even if we as a state can’t provide those types of incentives — and if, for some reason, not getting sick with COVID isn’t incentive enough — we ask businesses to provide those incentives to their employees.”
Henderson pointed to a list of incentives businesses are offering employees and customers nationwide — from grocery discounts to sweepstakes to free Krispy Kreme doughnuts — posted online, at vaccines.gov/incentives.html.
This story is developing and will be updated.