Almost 60% of Utahns are fully vaccinated against COVID-19

The state reported almost 3,600 new cases Tuesday, but a statewide test shortage continues to obscure true case counts.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Health workers with the Utah Department of Health test the public for COVID-19 at the testing site in the parking lot of the Utah Public Health Laboratory building in Taylorsville Dec. 30, 2021.

Editor’s note: The Salt Lake Tribune is providing free access to critical stories about the coronavirus. Sign up for our Top Stories newsletter, sent to your inbox every morning. To support journalism like this, please donate or become a subscriber.

Almost six out of 10 Utahns are now fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to the Utah Department of Health.

The state reported Tuesday that 1,947,712 Utahns are fully vaccinated, 59.53% of the state’s total population. That includes children under the age of 5, who are not eligible for vaccines.

Utah reported 3,586 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, just over 10,000 fewer than the all-time high of 13,538 on Jan. 14. However, a statewide test shortage continues to obscure true case counts, and it’s not clear whether there are lower transmission levels or Utahns are following state officials’ recommendation not to get tested after an influx of patients overwhelmed the state’s testing sites in mid-January.

There were 791 Utahns hospitalized with COVID-19 on Tuesday, down from Monday’s 813 but far higher than the record before January — 606, in December 2020. State officials last week announced that a data error had caused inaccuracies in hospital counts for months, significantly undercounting them in recent weeks. COVID-19 hospitalizations are lowest, on average, on Mondays and Tuesdays, UDOH data shows.

There were 183 COVID patients in intensive care units as of Tuesday. ICUs in the state’s larger “referral” hospitals were at 84.1 % capacity — just below the 85% threshold that hospital administrators have said is necessary to leave room for unpredictable staffing levels, new patients and availability of specialized equipment and personnel.

Statewide, 80.6% of all ICU beds were filled.

The state on Tuesday also confirmed 20 new COVID-19 deaths, bringing the total since the pandemic began to 4,138.

About 50 members of the Utah National Guard have been activated to assist in long-term care facilities across the state.

The activation comes at the request of the Utah Department of Health as the omicron surge has resulted in staff shortages in hospitals and care facilities. Members of the National Guard will attend a two-day training course and will provide nursing aide-related services under the supervision of a licensed nurse.

Guard members will be assigned to facilities for one to two weeks at a time, and they will be rotated to facilities where outbreaks cause staffing shortages.

[Read more: Utah officials still recommend not to get tested for COVID. Here’s why.]

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 during the weekend/total doses administered • 3,586 / 4,805,295.

Number of Utahns fully vaccinated • 1,947,712 — 59.9% of Utah’s total population. That is an increase of 981 in the past day.

Cases reported in the past day • 2,845.

Vaccination status • Health officials do not immediately have to 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 • A total of 18,023 people were tested.

Deaths reported in the past day • 20.

Thirteen of the deaths were in Salt Lake County — two men and two women between the ages of 45-64, five men and two women 65-84, and a man and a woman 85 or older.

Washington County reported five deaths — a man 45-64, two men 65-84, and a man and a woman 85 or older.

A Davis County woman 85 or older and an Iron County man 45-64 also died.

Utahns currently hospitalized with COVID-19 • 791. That is 22 fewer than on reported Monday. Of those currently hospitalized, 183 are in intensive care — three more than reported on Monday.

Percentage of positive tests • Under the state’s original method, the rate was 41.1% on Tuesday. That is lower than the seven-day average of 43.6%.

The state’s new method counts all test results, including repeated tests of the same individual. Tuesday’s rate was 15.8%, lower than the seven-day average of 27.4%.

[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 9.6 times as likely to die of COVID-19 as vaccinated people were, according to a Utah Department of Health analysis. The unvaccinated also were 4.7 times as likely to be hospitalized, and 2.3 times as likely to test positive for the coronavirus.

Totals to date • 888,368 cases; 4,138 deaths; 31,418 hospitalizations; 4,801,882 tests administered.