COVID-19 case count in Utah now exceeds 600,000 since pandemic began

No additional deaths are reported because of “technical difficulties” on Wednesday.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Dr. Diane Gilles takes a handful of syringes filled with the Moderna vaccine to be given to people on Thursday, March 18, 2021, as the Utah Film Studios loans its space to the Summit County Health Department as a drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination station.

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More than 600,000 cases of COVID-19 have been documented in Utah since the start of the pandemic, according to the Utah Department of Health.

Another 1,981 cases of coronavirus were reported on Thursday, bringing the statewide tally to 600,079. That’s 18.3% of the state’s population, although the Health Department did not report how many of those cases were Utahns who contracted COVID-19 more than once.

The rolling seven-day average of new positive cases stands at 1,265.

No additional deaths were reported Wednesday — the result of “technical difficulties experienced yesterday with our reporting system,” according to the Health Department.

There is an increase of about 15% in breakthrough cases among people fully vaccinated. But that’s because the Health Department has “improved the way it is reporting breakthrough cases, hospitalizations, and deaths,” a move that allows the department to “identify additional breakthrough cases, hospitalizations and deaths dating back to the beginning of the vaccine rollout.”

As of Thursday, UDOH is reporting 49,594 breakthrough cases, with 2,094 hospitalizations and 299 deaths.

The number of children getting vaccinated continues to climb — 69,303 children ages 5-11 have gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine since they became eligible; that’s about 19% of kids that age in Utah, according to the Health Department.

Intensive care units in the state remain near capacity. UDOH reported Thursday that 91.3% of all ICU beds in Utah and 95.7% of ICU beds in larger medical centers in the state are occupied. (Hospitals consider any figure over 85% to be functionally full). Of all ICU patients, 43.2% are being treated for COVID-19.

Vaccine doses administered in the past day/total doses administered • 19,525/4,175,180.

Number of Utahns fully vaccinated • 1,817,552 — 55.6% of Utah’s total population. That is an increase of 5,993 in the past day.

Cases reported in the past day • 1,981.

Cases among school-age children • Kids in grades K-12 accounted for 353 of the new cases announced Thursday — 17.8% of the total. There were 161 cases reported in children aged 5-10; 85 cases in children 11-13; and 107 cases in children 14-18.

Tests reported in past day • 10,013 people were tested for the first time. A total of 19,552 people were tested.

Deaths reported in past day • None.

Hospitalizations reported in the past day • 519. That is five more than reported on Wednesday. Of those currently hospitalized, 204 are in intensive care, three more than reported on Wednesday.

Percentage of positive tests • Under the state’s original method, the rate is 19.8% in the past day. That is higher than the seven-day average of 14.6%.

The state’s new method counts all test results, including repeated tests of the same individual. Thursday’s rate was 10.1%, higher than the seven-day average of 9.7%.

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

Risk ratios • In the past four weeks, unvaccinated Utahns were 13.5 times more likely to die of COVID-19 than vaccinated people, according to a Utah Department of Health analysis. The unvaccinated also were 9.1 times more likely to be hospitalized, and 3.5 times more likely to test positive for the coronavirus.

Totals to date • 600,079 cases; 3,545 deaths; 26,002 hospitalizations; 3,994,006 people tested.