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Utah continues to see drops in positive coronavirus tests and hospitalizations as new booster shots engineered to protect against the highly contagious omicron variant have become widely available across the state.
The most recent state data, released to Utah’s COVID-19 dashboard Thursday, shows just 2,370 additional cases in the past week, hundreds fewer than last week. Positivity rates also fell. Cases counts initially spiked this summer, propelled by the omicron variant.
Experts have said however that they aren’t relying on testing data to track COVID-19 spread, since the state’s numbers don’t account for people who took at-home tests. Instead, they’re tracking hospitalizations, emergency room visits and how much of the virus is found in Utah wastewater.
Hospital records show that, on average, fewer people with COVID-19 were in Utah hospitals over the last week than in the seven days before — 104 compared to 123. The seven-day average number of ICU patient also dropped from 26 to 17.
The percentage of COVID-19 patients who visited emergency rooms also dropped by about a quarter of a percentage point, from 2.54% to to 2.27%.
Coronavirus wastewater levels
Wastewater readings showed 55.9% of Utah sites found either elevated or increasing amounts of coronavirus.
Ten sites in Clearfield, Coalville, North Salt Lake, Salt Lake City, Taylorsville, Spanish Fork, Santaquin, Roosevelt, Vernal and Moab reported increasing levels of the virus. Trends didn’t change at 19 sites, and five sites found decreasing levels.
Sixteen sites reported “elevated” amounts of COVID-19, and a dozen sites were on “watch” status, meaning there is concern levels could become “elevated.” Six sites had low levels.
The only county in Utah that currently meets the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s threshold for high community COVID-19 levels is San Juan County. The CDC has said that people in high COVID-19 transmission areas should wear a mask in public indoor spaces. No counties in Utah require masking.
The state reported eight COVID-19 deaths this week, amounting to 4,989 since the pandemic began.
Breakdown of updated figures:
Vaccine doses administered in the past week/total doses administered • 3,491 / 5,374,565.
Number of Utahns fully vaccinated • 2,051,409 — 63.1% of Utah’s total population. Another 985,386 Utahns have received at least one booster shot — 30.3% of the population.
Cases reported in the past week • 2,370.
Average cases per day reported in the past week • 342.
Deaths reported in the past week • 8.
Salt Lake County reported the deaths of two men, ages 85 or older.
In Carbon County, officials reported the deaths of a woman age 65-84 and a man age 85 or older. Davis County also recorded two new deaths: a man and woman, ages 65-84.
Washington and Weber county each reported one death, both men who were 85 or older.
Hospitalizations reported this week • As of Thursday, 122 Utahns were hospitalized with COVID-19, 37 fewer than the previous week. There were 22 patients in intensive care Thursday, one more than last Thursday.
Percentage of positive tests • Counting all test results, including repeated tests of the same individual, 13.56% of the tests conducted came back positive, compared with 15.68% at this point last week.
When repeated tests on the same individual are not counted, 17.01% of the tests administered yielded positive results, down from 20.03% the previous week.
Totals to date • 1,032,129 cases; 4,989 deaths; 38,167 hospitalizations.