Utah reports 15 new COVID-19 deaths as case counts, hospitalizations dip

There have been more than 1 million reported coronavirus cases since the pandemic began.

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Fifteen more Utahns were reported to have died of COVID-19 in the past week, while statewide data shows decreases in most pandemic-tracking metrics, including case counts and hospitalizations.

The Utah Department of Health and Human Services’ COVID-19 dashboard on Thursday reported 3,143 new coronavirus cases statewide in the past week, with a 10.4% decrease in seven-day average case counts and a nearly 15% decrease in test positivity rates.

The total number of cases reported since the start of the pandemic is now 1,026,812.

However, these metrics do not include results from home tests, so officials have advised that they are not the most reliable indicator of spread.

COVID-19 wastewater levels

Levels of coronavirus found in state sewage can give a more accurate reading. This week, 23.5% of Utah wastewater sites reported high levels of the virus, down from 67.6% from the previous week.

During that previous week, five sites — in Hyrum, Ogden, South Jordan, Orem and Hurricane — showed increasing levels of COVID-19. But data from the past week shows zero sites are now reporting increasing levels. Half of all sites (17) saw plateauing amounts of the virus, while the other half showed decreasing levels.

Still, COVID-19 levels are a concern. Elevated amounts of the virus were found at 8 of those sites, and 17 are considered “under watch,” meaning there is potential they could soon be considered elevated. Nine sites saw low amounts of the virus.

2 counties with ‘high’ transmission levels

Both San Juan and Uintah counties have high COVID-19 community transmission levels, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Last week, none of Utah’s 29 counties met this threshold. The CDC has said people in high transmission areas should wear a mask in public indoor spaces. No counties in Utah require masking.

There were 157 coronavirus patients in Utah hospitals on Thursday, compared with 202 last Thursday.

The seven-day average of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 fell 15%; the seven-day average of COVID-19 patients in intensive care fell 12.4%; and the seven-day average of new coronavirus patients admitted to a hospital fell 10.9%.

Over the past week, 2.7% of emergency room visits in Utah were for COVID-19 — down slightly from 2.88% the previous week.

Breakdown of updated figures:

Vaccine doses administered in the past week/total doses administered • 8,964 / 5,363,331.

Number of Utahns fully vaccinated • 2,048,105 — 63% of Utah’s total population. Another 982,926 Utahns have received at least one booster shot — 30.2% of the population.

Cases reported in the past week • 3,143

Average cases per day reported in the past week • 453.

Deaths reported in the past week • 15.

Salt Lake County reported the most deaths, with four men ages 65-84 and a man and woman both 85 or older.

In Utah County, officials reported the death of four men — one age 18-24, one age 44-65 and two age 85 or older — and a woman between the ages of 65-84.

The state also reported the deaths of a Davis County man age 25-44, a Sevier County man age 65-84, a Washington County man age 65-84 and a Weber County woman age 85 or older.

Health officials retracted one death from its tally — a Salt Lake County man, age 85 or older, counted in late July.

Hospitalizations reported this week • As of Thursday, 157 Utahns were hospitalized with COVID-19, 45 fewer than the previous week. There were 21 in intensive care, four fewer than last week

Percentage of positive tests • Counting all test results, including repeated tests of the same individual, 17.27% of the tests conducted came back positive, compared with 20.28% at this point last week.

When repeated tests on the same individual are not counted, 22.29% of the tests administered yielded positive results, down from 26.2% the previous week.

Totals to date • 1,026,812 cases; 4,968 deaths; 37,849 hospitalizations.