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.
Another 5,728 cases of COVID-19 were reported in Utah in the past week, along with 175 more hospitalizations and four more deaths. That’s eight fewer deaths than the state reported the week prior.
The number of new cases was up only slightly — by 117, about 2% — from the previous week. Among those with a new case of the coronavirus — Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson, who announced Thursday morning that she had tested positive. The mayor said she was not experiencing symptoms.
This week’s COVID-19 report comes in the midst of a coronavirus surge that is expected to continue for several more weeks. Experts say omicron subvariants are driving it.
On Tuesday, Utah State Superintendent of Public Instruction Sydnee Dickson sent an email to employees advising them, “We have a number of employees out with COVID today” and “some indicated they were exposed here at work.”
Dickson advised caution for those working in the building at 250 E. 500 South — masks, distancing, staying home if they have symptoms. “I will leave it to your best judgment, but hope that we can all be mindful and aware that we have a new variant that is making the rounds.”
In the past seven days, the state’s seven-day average of new cases rose from 802.1 to 819.3.
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, 24,134 people were tested, just 59 more than the week before. The weekly rate of positive tests rose from 18.05% to 20.68%
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 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 3.43% of emergency room visits in the past week, compared to 2.8% the previous week.
Since last week, 175 more Utahns have been hospitalized with coronavirus, bringing the total to 34,909 patients hospitalized since the pandemic began. There were 137 COVID-19 patients in Utah hospitals as of Thursday, 33 more than last week.
The number of COVID-19 patients in ICUs decreased by two to 18.
The state reported 15,833 more Utahns received a COVID-19 vaccine since May 26, the last time it released data. Of those, 1,728 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 2,025,111 — are fully vaccinated, and 28.8% have received a booster shot, the data shows.
Breakdown of updated figures
Vaccine doses administered in the past week/total doses administered • 15,833 / 55,194,378
Number of Utahns fully vaccinated • 2,025,111 — 62.3% of Utah’s total population.
Cases reported in the past week: 5,728
Average cases per day reported in the past week • 819.3.
Tests reported from May 26 to June 2• 24,134.
Deaths reported in the past week • Four.
All four deaths were men between the ages of 65-84, one each in Salt Lake, Utah, Iron and Washington counties.
Hospitalizations reported this week • 137 on Thursday, an increase of 33 in the past week. There were 18 patients in intensive care, two 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 20.68%. That is higher than the previous seven-day average of 18.05%.
Not counting individuals’ repeated test results, this week’s rate was 24.97%, higher than the previous seven-day average of 22.44%.
Totals to date • 954,707 cases; 4,781 deaths; 34,909 hospitalizations.