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Another 1,873 Utahns were diagnosed with COVID-19, and 19 more people in the state died from it, the state of Utah reported Friday.
The rolling seven-day average of new positive cases stands at 1,407, the Utah Department of Health reported.
The state passed an unusual milestone Friday: More than 4 million people — 4,006,158, to be precise — have been tested for COVID-19 since the pandemic began, according to the health department. That’s almost 735,000 more people than live in Utah.
According to UDOH, the reason some people may be counted more than once is because the state limits its counting of one person’s tests to a 90-day window. If someone is tested more than 90 days after their first test, that person may be counted a second (or more) time.
Overall, 7,321,795 COVID-19 tests have been processed in Utah since the pandemic began. That’s more than two tests for every resident of the state.
The number of children getting vaccinated continues to climb — 71,069 children ages 5-11 have gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine since they became eligible; that’s 19.5% of kids that age in Utah, according to the health department.
Intensive care units in the state remain near capacity. UDOH reported Friday that 91.7% of all ICU beds in Utah and 94.5% 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, 42% are being treated for COVID-19.
Vaccine doses administered in the past day/total doses administered • 21,242/4,196,422.
Number of Utahns fully vaccinated • 1,817,552 — 55.7% of Utah’s total population. That is an increase of 5,328 in the past day.
Cases reported in the past day • 1,981.
Cases among school-age children • Kids in grades K-12 accounted for 362 of the new cases announced Thursday — 18.3% of the total. There were 176 cases reported in children aged 5-10; 87 cases in children 11-13; and 99 cases in children 14-18.
Tests reported in past day • 12,152 people were tested for the first time. A total of 24,325 people were tested.
Deaths reported in past day • 19.
Ten of the fatalities were in Salt Lake County: A woman 25-44, two men and three women 45-64, and a three men and a woman 65-84.
Washington County reported three deaths: A woman 45-64, a man 65-84, and a woman 85-plus.
Six other counties each reported one death: A woman 65-84 in Cache County; a woman 45-64 in Davis County; a woman 65-84 in Iron County; a woman 45-64 in Tooele County, a woman 45-64 in Utah County; and a woman 85-plus in Weber County.
Hospitalizations reported in the past day • 513. That is six fewer than reported on Thursday. Of those currently hospitalized, 199 are in intensive care, five fewer than reported on Thursday. And 42% of patients in ICUs are being treated for COVID-19.
Percentage of positive tests • Under the state’s original method, the rate is 16.3% in the past day. That is higher than the seven-day average of 14.4%.
The state’s new method counts all test results, including repeated tests of the same individual. Friday’s rate was 8.1%, lower than the seven-day average of 9.6%.
Risk ratios • In the past four weeks, unvaccinated Utahns were 12.7 times more likely to die of COVID-19 than vaccinated people, according to a Utah Department of Health analysis. The unvaccinated also were nine times more likely to be hospitalized, and 3.5 times more likely to test positive for the coronavirus.
Totals to date • 601,952 cases; 3,564 deaths; 26,108 hospitalizations; 4,006,158 people tested.
A leading Utah pediatrician said Friday that experts still have much to learn about the recently discovered omicron variant of the coronavirus — but fighting it will take the same precautions doctors already recommend against COVID-19.
“It’s not the end of the world,” Dr. Andrew Pavia, director of epidemiology at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital, said in a community briefing over Facebook Live. “We have the tools to combat omicron. … But we’re not using them. If you’re not vaccinated, get vaccinated — do it now. If you’ve been infected, get vaccinated. If you’ve had two doses, get your third dose. That’s what we’re pretty sure it’s going to take to get your level of immunity up.”
As of Friday morning, Pavia said, 10 cases of the omicron variant have been found in the United States, in New York, Minnesota, Colorado and California. Since it takes days for experts to detect a new variant in a given population, he said, “I think it’s in Utah — and if it isn’t, it will be soon.” (On Friday afternoon, UDOH announced the first case of the omicron variant in Utah.)
Meanwhile, Pavia said, “We’re not done with the delta surge.” Doctors are concerned that a post-Thanksgiving surge will start hitting hospitals as soon as this weekend — and, at Primary Children’s, he said, “our doctors and ICU nurses are beyond exhausted.”
Pavia said he was encouraged that more than 70,000 Utah children ages 5 to 11 — and a million nationwide — have received a dose of the Pfizer version of the COVID-19 vaccine, without serious side effects reported.
Parents who have waited before getting their kids the vaccine should be reassured by those figures, Pavia said. “If you wanted to wait until it was a larger number of kids, a million is a pretty good number,” he said.
Pavia, who also is chief of the division of pediatric infectious diseases for University of Utah Health, stressed that getting more vaccine distributed globally will reduce the odds of another variant growing.
“The only way that we’re really going to control the emergence of variants is to decrease the number of infections — and we can’t do that just by decreasing the number of infections in the U.S.,” he said. “No one is safe until everyone is safe. We need to redouble our efforts to help vaccinate our neighbors, and our neighbors around the world.”