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Utah reports 7 more deaths from COVID-19 as virus levels rise in sewers

The Department of Health also reported increasing case counts, but hospitalizations dropped slightly.

(Rachel Rydalch | The Salt Lake Tribune) EMT Charles Ledbetter, delivers a Covid test to a patient in their car in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022.

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Utah reported nearly 1,700 new coronavirus cases in the past seven days and seven more deaths, the Department of Health reported Thursday.

The number of new cases reported this week — 1,695 — was hundreds higher than the 1,197 reported last Thursday. The state reported a 51.4% increase in the seven-day average of new cases, moving from 173.3 to 260.3. That was after reporting a more than 61% increase in cases last week.

The weekly rate of positive tests also rose from 5.06%. to 6.62%.

State officials have been focusing less on new cases to track COVID-19 spread, since fewer people are being tested. This past week, the seven-day testing average was 1,821, lower than the average reported on both April 14 and April 21.

Officials also are looking at wastewater analysis, hospitalizations and emergency room visits to identify outbreaks or concerning spread.

The Utah Department of Environmental Quality’s survey of 32 municipal wastewater treatment facilities — covering roughly 88% of the state’s population — showed that 59.4% of those sites reported elevated or increasing COVID-19 RNA levels. This is compared to 25% last week.

The state reported two sites where COVID-19 levels were elevated and nine sites listed as under “watch,” meaning officials had detected enough of the virus to indicate “potential concern.” Last week, there was one site with elevated levels and three sites on watch.

The majority of wastewater sites in Utah — 65.6% — are still reporting “low” levels of coronavirus in the sewer, although the number has fallen from the 84.4% reported last week.

The were 19 sites where officials found increasing levels of coronavirus, 12 more than last week. Those sites include: North Davis, Central Davis, South Davis - North, and South Davis - South all in Davis County; Salt Lake City, Central Valley and two Jordan Basin facilities in Salt Lake County; Orem, Provo, Springville, Spanish Fork and Santaquin in Utah County; Cedar City in Iron County; Roosevelt in Duchesne County; Moab in Grand County; and St. George in Washington County.

At 13 sites, levels had plateaued. None of the sites reported decreasing levels.

Data shows coronavirus patients made up 0.89% of emergency room visits in the past week, compared to 0.68% the week prior.

Since last week, 59 more Utahns have been hospitalized with coronavirus, for 34,259 throughout the pandemic. There are currently 64 COVID-19 patients in Utah hospitals, three less than last week.

The number of COVID-19 patients in ICUs dropped from 14 to 10.

The state reported 20,466 more Utahns received a COVID-19 vaccine since April 21, the last time the state released date. Of those, 3,051 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.

Numbers show that 61.9% of Utahns are fully vaccinated and 28.2% have received a booster shot.

Breakdown of updated figures

Vaccine doses administered in the past week/total doses administered • 20,466 / 5,097,887.

Number of Utahns fully vaccinated • 2,012,715 — 61.9% of Utah’s total population. That is an increase of 3,051 in the past seven days.

Cases reported in the past week: 1,695.

Average cases per day reported in the past week • 260.3.

Tests reported from April 21 to April 27 • 12,745.

Deaths reported in the past week • 7.

Salt Lake County reported the deaths of two men, one age 45-64 and the other age 85 or older.

The five other deaths include: a Davis County man age 65-84; a Duchesne County woman age 65-84; a Utah County man age 65-85; a Washington County man age 45-64; and a Weber County woman age 25-44.

Hospitalizations reported in the past week • 59. That is eight fewer than reported last week. Of those currently hospitalized, 10 are in intensive care, three 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 6.62%. That’s slightly higher than the previous seven-day average of 5.06%.

Totals to date • 932,253 cases; 4,747 deaths; 34,259 hospitalizations.

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