Utah COVID-19 case counts jump, and 12 more die — including a child, state reports

Experts say coronavirus metrics will keep climbing, driven by omicron subvariants.

(Rachel Rydalch | The Salt Lake Tribune) A box of coronavirus tests are pictured at a new testing site on Guardsman Way in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022.

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This week Utah reported more than 5,000 new coronavirus cases, more than 100 new hospitalizations and a dozen more deaths — including one girl between the ages of 1 and 14.

The Department of Health said it had no additional information about her death.

Last week, state health officials and doctors told reporters Utah was in the midst of a coronavirus surge and would likely see rising case counts and other metrics for several more weeks. Intermountain’s Dr. Brandon Webb said high positivity rates suggested case counts showed a “significant undercount.”

Experts say omicron subvariants are driving the current surge. In the past seven days, the state reported 5,611 new coronavirus cases, compared to 4,504 last Thursday. The state’s seven-day average of new cases rose from 641.4 to 805.3.

State officials are looking less to new cases as a way to track COVID-19 spread, as fewer people are getting tested since the state shuttered most of its free testing facilities. In the past seven days, 24,075 people were tested, down from 25,824 tests the week before. The weekly rate of positive tests rose from 15.23% to 18.07%

Instead, experts are looking at other metrics, like hospitalizations and emergency room visits, to judge the severity of coronavirus outbreaks. State data shows increases in hospitalizations — including patients admitted to intensive care units — and emergency room visits.

Officials urge those who test positive or have COVID-19 symptoms to stay home to avoid infecting others. Isolation guidance is available at coronavirus.utah.gov/protect-yourself.

They also urge Utahns to get up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccines, which can prevent serious illness.

COVID-19 hospitalization rates

Data shows coronavirus patients made up 2.8% of emergency room visits in the past week, compared to 2.3% the previous week.

Since last week, 139 more Utahns have been hospitalized with coronavirus, bringing the total to 34,734 patients hospitalized since the pandemic began. There were 104 COVID-19 patients in Utah hospitals on Thursday, 14 fewer than last week.

The number of COVID-19 patients in ICUs increased by two to 20.

The state reported 22,280 more Utahns received a COVID-19 vaccine since May 19, the last time it released data. Of those, 2,392 are now fully vaccinated, meaning they have had two doses of an mRNA series vaccine, like Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech, or one dose of the Janssen vaccine.

About 62.3% of Utahns — a total of 2,023,383 — are fully vaccinated, and 28.7% have received a booster shot, the data shows.

Breakdown of updated figures

Vaccine doses administered in the past week/total doses administered • 22,280 / 5,178,545.

Number of Utahns fully vaccinated • 2,023,383 — 62.3% of Utah’s total population.

Cases reported in the past week: 5,611.

Average cases per day reported in the past week • 805.3

Tests reported from May 19 to May 26 • 24,075.

Deaths reported in the past week • 12.

Salt Lake County reported seven deaths: a woman age 25-44; two men and two women ages 65-84; and a man and a woman 85 or older.

A Utah County girl between the ages of 1 and 14 died, as well as a San Juan County woman age 25-44.

Washington and Davis counties each reported the death of a woman between the ages of 65 and 84, and Tooele County reported the death of a woman 85 or older.

Hospitalizations reported this week • 104 on Thursday, a decrease of 18 in the past week. There were 20 in intensive care, two more than reported last week.

Percentage of positive tests • Counting all test results, including repeated tests of the same individual, this week’s rate was 18.07%. That is higher than the previous seven-day average of 15.23%.

Not counting an individual’s repeated test results, this week’s rate was 22.32%, higher than the previous seven-day average of 18.89%.

Totals to date • 948,979 cases; 4,777 deaths; 34,734 hospitalizations.