Utah COVID-19 case counts remain low as sewage shows one site of ‘potential concern’

State health officials also report six additional deaths.

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Utah reported 740 new coronavirus cases in the past seven days and six more deaths, the Department of Health reported Thursday.

The number of new cases increased by 40, compared to the weekly total released last Thursday. The state reported a 9% increase in the seven-day average of new cases, moving from 100 to 109. The weekly rate of positive tests rose slightly as well, to 3.16%.

However, state officials are focusing less on new cases to track COVID-19 spread, since fewer people are being tested. The seven-day average for the number of tests has fallen from 3,492 as of April 7, to 2,288 on Wednesday.

Officials are instead looking at wastewater analysis and hospitalizations and emergency room visits.

The Utah Department of Environmental Quality’s survey of 32 municipal wastewater treatment facilities — covering roughly 88% of the state’s population — showed no areas where levels of COVID-19 RNA are elevated. One site is listed as under “watch,” meaning enough of the virus was found for “potential concern,” but not enough to be considered “elevated.” The dashboard didn’t identify this testing site.

It did show that six sites — Tooele, Central Valley, South Valley, St. George, Price River and Ashley Valley — showed higher COVID-19 levels this week compared to last.

Most of the sites, 87.5%, have “low” levels of coronavirus in the sewer. And in three more, 9.4% of all sites, the levels were below the laboratory reporting limits.

Twenty sites showed unchanged levels of the virus since last week, and two — Santaquin and East Canyon — showed decreased levels.

Data shows coronavirus patients made up 0.51% of emergency room visits in the past week, compared to 0.57% the week prior.

The number of Utahns getting vaccinated against the virus grew by 20,447 since April 7, the last time the state released COVID-19 data.

More than 2,480 became fully vaccinated in the past week, meaning they’ve had two doses of an mRNA series vaccine, like Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech, or one dose of the Janssen vaccine.

Since last week, 20 more Utahns have been hospitalized with coronavirus, for 34,149 throughout the pandemic. There are currently 63 COVID-19 patients in Utah hospitals, 17 less than last week.

The number of COVID-19 patients in ICUs dropped from 15 to 11.

Breakdown of updated figures

Vaccine doses administered in the past week/total doses administered • 20,447 / 5,053,755.

Number of Utahns fully vaccinated • 2,006,587 — 61.7% of Utah’s total population. That is an increase of 2,481 in the past seven days.

Cases reported in the past week: 740.

Average cases per day reported in the past week • 109.

Tests reported from April 7 to April 13 • 16,016.

Deaths reported in the past week • 6.

Weber County reported three deaths — two women between the ages of 65 and 84, and a man 85 or older. There were two deaths in Salt Lake County — a man 45 to 65, and a man 65 to 84. And a man 65 to 84 died in Box Elder County.

Hospitalizations reported in the past week • 63. That is 17 fewer than reported last week. Of those currently hospitalized, 11 are in intensive care, four fewer than reported last week.

Percentage of positive tests • Counting all test results, including repeated tests of the same individual, this week’s rate was 3.16%. That’s slightly higher than the previous seven-day average of 2.76%.

Totals to date • 929,361 cases; 4,736 deaths; 34,149 hospitalizations.