Utah reports highest 1-day increase of new coronavirus cases in nearly a year

Officials say the surge is likely the result of holiday gatherings and the omicron variant.

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On Wednesday, the Utah Department of Health reported 3,303 new coronavirus cases in the past day — 82% more than the previous day (1,816) and the highest single-day increase reported in nearly a year, when 3,842 new cases were announced on Jan. 7.

The reported surge is likely the result of the omicron variant and holiday gatherings, according to a statement from the Health Department.

“If you feel sick, stay home, and get tested,” the Health Department urged.

Officials also recommended that Utahns wear masks during large indoor gatherings. And if you haven’t been vaccinated for COVID-19, or have delayed getting a booster dose, “now is the time to get that shot,” the statement reads. Vaccine and booster appointments can be scheduled online.

The rolling seven-day average of new coronavirus cases now stands at 1,571.

The Health Department on Wednesday also confirmed seven more COVID-19 deaths. The state’s death toll since the pandemic began is now 3,781.

The number of children getting vaccinated continues to climb: 93,954 children ages 5-11 have received at least one dose since they became eligible. That’s 25.8% of kids that age in Utah, according to the Health Department. And 61,198 of those kids have been fully vaccinated — 16.8% of that age group.

Intensive care units in the state remain near capacity. UDOH reported Wednesday that 93.5% of all ICU beds in Utah and 95% of ICU beds in larger medical centers throughout the state are occupied. (Hospitals consider any figure over 85% to be functionally full.) Of all ICU patients, 36.6% are being treated for COVID-19.

Vaccine doses administered in the past day/total doses administered • 12,077 / 4,526,915.

Number of Utahns fully vaccinated • 1,897,013 — 58% of Utah’s total population. That is an increase of 4,325 in the past day.

Vaccination status • Health officials do not immediately have or release the vaccination status of individuals who test positive, who are hospitalized, or who die. They do calculate the overall risk ratios of these outcomes depending on vaccination status, which you can see below.

Cases reported in the past day • 3,303.

Cases among school-age children • Kids in grades K-12 accounted for 333 of the new cases announced Wednesday — 10.1% of the total. There were 120 cases reported in children aged 5-10; 59 cases in children 11-13; and 154 cases in children 14-18.

Tests reported in the past day • 15,338 people were tested for the first time. A total of 27,774 people were tested.

Deaths reported in the past day • Seven.

Two Salt Lake County residents died — a man and a woman between the ages of 65-84. There were also two deaths in Utah County — both women 65-84.

And Tooele County reported two deaths — a man 45-64, and a woman 65-84. A Weber County man 85 or older also died.

Hospitalizations reported in the past day • 442. That is four more than reported on Tuesday. Of those currently hospitalized, 178 are in intensive care — seven more than were reported on Tuesday.

Percentage of positive tests • Under the state’s original method, the rate is 21.5% in the past day. That is higher than the seven-day average of 12%.

The state’s new method counts all test results, including repeated tests of the same individual. Wednesday’s rate was 11.9%, higher than the seven-day average of 8.2%.

[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 17.3 times more likely to die of COVID-19 than vaccinated people, according to a Utah Department of Health analysis. The unvaccinated also were 10 times more likely to be hospitalized, and 3.4 times more likely to test positive for the coronavirus.

Totals to date • 633,429 cases; 3,781 deaths; 27,446 hospitalizations; 4,230,510 people tested.