Utah reports more than 10,000 new cases, record COVID-19 hospitalizations

Amid staffing shortages, University of Utah Hospital has closed more than 50 beds, including 12 in the ICU.

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A record 10,220 new coronavirus cases were reported in Utah in the past day, the health department announced Wednesday.

It marked the first time Utah has reported more than 10,000 cases in a single day.

Before last week, the highest number of new cases reported in a single day was about 4,700, announced more than a year ago, in December 2020.

Utah has been averaging about 8,975 new cases per day for the past week — the highest it has been since the pandemic began. Before last week, the highest that figure had ever been was 3,392, reported in November 2020.

Hospitalizations also continue to climb, with 608 Utahns concurrently hospitalized with the coronavirus — the highest number of any day during the pandemic.

Before Tuesday, the highest number of patients simultaneously hospitalized with COVID-19 was 606, in December 2020. At that time, more of those patients required intensive care: 213, versus the 180 patients with COVID in Utah’s ICUs as of Wednesday.

But hospital staffing is tighter now than it was in 2020, Utah’s hospital administrators have said, with frightened nurses quitting without notice and hundreds of employees calling out sick as the highly-transmissible omicron variant sweeps across Utah.

University of Utah Hospital confirmed that it closed more than 50 of its beds last week because staffing was so thin that it couldn’t care for more patients. Forty “acute care” beds and 12 ICU beds will remain empty until more employees are available to work, said Kathy Wilets, hospital spokesperson.

“We have no plans at this time to close more,” Wilets said.

ICUs in Utah’s larger, “referral” hospitals were at 92% capacity — up from Tuesday’s 88%, and above the 85% threshold that hospital administrators have said is necessary to leave room for shifting staff levels, new patients and availability of specialized equipment and personnel.

The Utah Department of Health on Tuesday also reported 14 more COVID-19 deaths in the past day.

The number of children getting vaccinated continues to climb: 105,165 children ages 5-11 have received at least one dose since they became eligible. That is 28.8% of kids that age in Utah, according to the health department. And 73,222 of those kids have been fully vaccinated — 20.1% of that age group.

Find where to get vaccinated at coronavirus.utah.gov/vaccine-distribution.

Find where to get tested at coronavirus.utah.gov/utah-covid-19-testing-locations.

Breakdown of updated figures

Vaccine doses administered in the past day/total doses administered • 12,704 / 4,672,347.

Number of Utahns fully vaccinated • 1,922,780 — 58.8% of Utah’s total population. That is an increase of 1,942 in the past day.

Cases reported in the past day • 10,220.

Cases among school-age children • Kids in grades K-12 accounted for 2,304 of the new cases announced Tuesday — 22.5% of the total. There were 640 cases reported in children aged 5-10; 546 cases in children 11-13; and 1,118 cases in children 14-18.

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 is listed below.

Tests reported in the past day • 25,170 people were tested for the first time. A total of 48,561 people were tested.

Deaths reported in the past day • 14.

Utah County reported five deaths — a man between the ages of 45-64, three men 65-84, and a man 85 or older.

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

Five counties each reported a single death — a Davis County woman 85 or older; an Iron County man 65-84; a Sanpete County man 65-84; a Tooele County man 65-84; and a Wasatch County woman 45-64.

Utahns currently hospitalized with COVID-19 • 608. That is 29 more than reported on Monday. Of those currently hospitalized, 180 are in intensive care — two more than reported on Tuesday.

Percentage of positive tests • Under the state’s original method, the rate is 40.6% in the past day. That is higher than the seven-day average of 35.5%.

The state’s new method counts all test results, including repeated tests of the same individual. Tuesday’s rate was 21%, lower than the seven-day average of 24.4%.

[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 16.3 times as likely to die of COVID-19 as vaccinated people were, according to a Utah Department of Health analysis. The unvaccinated also were 6.9 times as likely to be hospitalized, and 2.4 times as likely to test positive for the coronavirus.