12 more Utahns die of COVID-19 as state’s death toll nears 4,800

The number of new cases and the positivity rate both increased.

(Chris Samuels | The Salt Lake Tribune) Heath care workers administer coronavirus testing in the parking lot of the Maverik Center in West Valley City, Friday, Feb. 18, 2022. This site, along with several other mass testing centers in the state, ceased operation on Feb. 18.

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A dozen more Utahns died of COVID-19 in the past week, eight more than were reported the previous week and the same number who died two weeks ago, according to the Utah Department of Health. Nine of the deaths in the past week were people ages 65 and over, and five were 85 or older.

Another 7,401 cases of the coronavirus were also reported, up from 5,728 the previous week — an increase of almost 23%.

The number of hospitalizations and the percentage of positive tests also rose.

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.

In the past seven days, the state’s seven-day average of new cases rose from 816.9 to 1,073.6 — a 31.4% increase.

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, 28,761 people were tested, 4,627 more than the week before. The weekly rate of positive tests rose from 20.68% to 22.24%.

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 3.78% of emergency room visits in the past week, up slightly from 3.43% the previous week.

Since last week, 302 more Utahns have been hospitalized with coronavirus, bringing the total to 35,122 patients hospitalized since the pandemic began. There were 173 COVID-19 patients in Utah hospitals as of Thursday, 36 more than a week ago and 69 more than two weeks ago.

The number of COVID-19 patients in ICUs increased by six to 24.

The state reported 15,833 more Utahns received a COVID-19 vaccine since June 2, the last time it released data. Of those, 1,673 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 62.4% of Utahns — a total of 2,378,155 — are fully vaccinated, and 29% have received a booster shot, the data shows.

Breakdown of updated figures

Vaccine doses administered in the past week/total doses administered • 14,528 / 5,208,906

Number of Utahns fully vaccinated • 2,025,111 — 62.3% of Utah’s total population.

Cases reported in the past week: 7,401.

Average cases per day reported in the past week • 1,073.6.

Tests reported from June 2-9 •28,761.

Deaths reported in the past week • 12.

Five of the deaths were in Salt Lake County: A woman between the ages of 25-44; a man 45-64; two men 64-84; and a woman 85-plus.

There were four deaths in Davis County: A woman 65-84; and two men and a woman 85-plus.

The other deaths were a Tooele County woman 45-64; a Utah County man 85-plus; and a Washington County man 65-84.

Hospitalizations reported this week • 173 on Thursday, an increase of 36 in the past week. There were 24 patients in intensive care, six more than reported a week ago.

Percentage of positive tests • Counting all test results, including repeated tests of the same individual, this week’s rate was 22.24%. That is higher than the previous seven-day average of 20.68%.

Not counting individuals’ repeated test results, this week’s rate was 27.23%, higher than the previous seven-day average of 24.97%.

Totals to date • 962,208 cases; 4,793 deaths; 35,211 hospitalizations.