Utah to shut down many COVID-19 test sites as daily case counts remain low

The state reported an average of 85 new cases per day over the weekend, and four more deaths.

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Utah is shutting down some state COVID-19 testing sites and turning others over to private companies, the state health department announced Monday.

The move was announced as the state transitions to a more “long-term, sustainable response” to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a news release from the Utah Department of Health.

The health department on Monday also reported a total of 255 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend — 65 on Friday; 87 on Saturday; and 112 on Sunday. There have been fewer than 200 new cases reported in Utah each day for the past 20 days in a row.

“Testing is still an important tool for many Utahns,” the health department advised, as positive tests give people a chance to be considered for certain COVID-19 treatments, including monoclonal antibody therapy or antiviral medication.

According to UDOH, those who should continue to get tested include:

• The elderly, and people with significant underlying conditions.

• People who plan to visit someone who is vulnerable, including people over the age of 75, the immunocompromised or those receiving immunosuppressive medication.

• People who have been sick but are getting better and want to confirm they are negative.

• People who work with vulnerable populations, including health care workers, long-term care facility employees, and those living or working where people congregate, including prisons and homeless shelters.

• People traveling somewhere that requires a negative test, though the Utah Department of Health will no longer offer travel testing after Thursday.

Before visiting a testing site, UDOH urged people to visit coronavirus.utah.gov/utah-covid-19-testing-locations for the latest information on operating hours, types of tests offered at each site, cost and more.

New COVID-19 cases, deaths in Utah

The average number of new COVID-19 cases in Utah so far this month is 165. The average number of new cases in the past week is 116.

The number of COVID-19 tests administered each day remains relatively low as of late. In January, at the height of the omicron variant spike, upward of 40,000 tests were being performed each day. Over the last weekend, an average of fewer than 4,300 tests were performed each day.

The Utah Department of Health reported four more deaths on Monday. Two of those occurred before Feb. 28. That brings Utah’s coronavirus death toll to 4,706 since the pandemic began.

The number of people hospitalized in Utah with COVID-19 was 102 on Monday, eight fewer than on Friday. There were 20 coronavirus patients in intensive care units, two fewer than reported Friday.

According to UDOH, 60.1% of Utah’s ICU beds are filled, which falls below the 85% threshold that healthcare workers have said is needed to have enough rooms, equipment and staff available to treat new patients. COVID-19 patients make up 6.4% of the state’s ICU patients.

More than 5 million vaccinations have been administered in Utah since the pandemic began, according to the health department. That total now stands at 5,001,601.

State data shows 61.5% of Utahns were fully vaccinated as of Friday. But only 27.5% of all Utahns have received a booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

A UDOH analysis continues to show that booster shots significantly decrease Utahns’ chances of dying of COVID-19. Over the past four weeks:

• An unvaccinated person who contracts the virus is 2.5 times more likely to die than a fully vaccinated person, and 9.6 times more likely than a boosted person.

• An unvaccinated person who contracts the virus is 1.9 times as likely to be hospitalized as a fully vaccinated person, and 4.8 times more likely than a boosted person.

• An unvaccinated person is twice as likely to contract the virus than a fully vaccinated person, and 1.9 times more likely than a boosted person.

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

Breakdown of updated figures

Vaccine doses administered in the past day/total doses administered • 3,914 / 5,001,601.

Number of Utahns fully vaccinated • 1,998,904 — 61.5% of Utah’s total population. That is an increase of 1,015 in the past three days..

Cases reported during the past three days • 255.

Tests reported in the past three days • A total of 12,865 people were tested.

Deaths reported in the past three days • Four. Two of the deaths occurred before Feb. 28.

The deaths were a Salt Lake County woman between the ages of 65-84; a Cache County man 85 or older; an Emery County man 65-84; and a Utah County man 65-84.

Hospitalizations reported in the past three days • 102. That’s eight fewer than reported on Friday. Of those currently hospitalized, 20 are in intensive care, two fewer than were reported Friday.

Percentage of positive tests • Under the state’s original method, the rate was 3.7% over the past day. That’s lower than the seven-day average of 4.2%.

The state’s newer method counts all test results, including repeated tests of the same individual. Monday’s rate was 2%, lower than the seven-day average of 2.7%.

Totals to date • 927,551 cases; 4,706 deaths; 33,073 hospitalizations; 9,396,431 tests administered.