Utah boy dies of COVID-19, Health Department reports on anniversary of state’s first vaccine dose

State epidemiologist Leisha Nolen urged parents to get children vaccinated.

(Photo courtesy of University of Utah Health) Christy Mulder, a medical intensive care unit nurse at University of Utah Health, received the COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. She is believed to have been the first person in Utah to receive the vaccine.

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Fifteen more Utahns have died of COVID-19, including a Davis County boy between the ages of 1-14, the Utah Department of Health reported Wednesday.

“Children who get COVID-19 can get really sick, and unfortunately, as we are reporting today, can die,” state epidemiologist Leisha Nolen said in a statement. “This is a tragic reminder that COVID-19 is still spreading in our communities and is still causing preventable deaths.”

The Health Department did not provide any additional information Wednesday about the boy who died. His death marked the second child to die of COVID-19 in the state, records indicate. The first child who died was a Salt Lake county boy between the ages of 1-14. His death was reported on March 9.

Nolen in her statement added that “now is the time” for parents to get their children vaccinated to “help prevent serious illness and death.”

Wednesday marked the one-year anniversary of the first COVID-19 vaccine dose administered in Utah. That shot went to Christy Mulder, an intensive care unit nurse at the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City. At the time, Mulder called the milestone “overwhelming” and said she was “still trying to process it all.”

A year later, 4,375,884 vaccines have been administered in Utah — 2,115,064 people have received at least one dose; 1,870,095 have been fully vaccinated; and 539,499 have received a booster shot.

On the flip side, about 1.16 million Utahns have not received a vaccine dose, according to the Health Department. (That number includes children under the age of 5, who are not eligible to receive the shots.)

Five of the 15 Utahns whose deaths were reported Wednesday were under the age of 65 — the boy and four people between the ages of 45-64.

The Health Department reported 1,306 new coronavirus cases in the past day. The rolling seven-day average for new cases stands at 1,090 per day.

The number of children getting vaccinated continues to climb — 74,363 children ages 5-11 have gotten at least one dose since they became eligible. That’s 20.4% of kids that age in Utah, according to the Health Department.

Intensive care units in the state remain near capacity. UDOH reported Wednesday that 96.9% of all ICU beds in Utah and 98.9% 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, 38.8% are being treated for COVID-19.

Vaccine doses administered in the past days/total doses administered • 47,790 / 4,375,884,

Number of Utahns fully vaccinated • 1,870,095 — 57.1% of Utah’s total population. That is an increase of 11,326 in the past two days. (UDOH did not report vaccination numbers on Tuesday because of a “data reporting issue.”)

Cases reported in the past day • 1,306.

Cases among school-age children • Kids in grades K-12 accounted for 194 of the new cases announced Wednesday — 14.9% of the total. There were 86 cases reported in children aged 5-10; 46 cases in children 11-13; and 62 cases in children 14-18.

Tests reported in past day • 9,418 people were tested for the first time. A total of 18,554 people were tested.

Deaths reported in past day • 15.

There were four deaths in Davis County: In addition to the boy, a man and a woman 45-64 and a woman 85 or older also died.

Salt Lake County reported three deaths — a man 45-64, a woman 65-84, and a man 85 or older. And there were two deaths in Utah County — a man 65-84, and a woman 85 or older.

Six counties each reported a single death — a Box Elder County man 65-84; a Grand County man 65-84; an Iron County man 65-84; a Juab County man 65-84; a San Juan County woman 65-84; and a Washington County man 45-64.

Hospitalizations reported in the past day • 514. That is 16 more than reported on Tuesday. Of those currently hospitalized, 202 are in intensive care, two more than reported on Tuesday.

Percentage of positive tests • Under the state’s original method, the rate is 13.9% in the past day. That is slightly higher than the seven-day average of 13.7%.

The state’s new method counts all test results, including repeated tests of the same individual. Wednesday’s rate was 7%, lower than the seven-day average of 9.2%.

[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 14.9 times more likely to die of COVID-19 than vaccinated people, according to a Utah Department of Health analysis. The unvaccinated also were 9.5 times more likely to be hospitalized, and 3.7 times more likely to test positive for the coronavirus.

Totals to date • 615,576 cases; 3,688 deaths; 26,822 hospitalizations; 4,102,888 people tested.