Utah COVID-19 vaccinations skyrocketed after new booster release, state reports

State data shows nearly 29,000 people received a coronavirus vaccine in Utah in the last week.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Valerie Mitchell administers a COVID-19 vaccination to Teresa Pacheco at Midvale Elementary School, on Wednesday, January 26, 2022. State data shows nearly 29,000 people received a coronavirus vaccine in Utah in the last week, following the release of new bivalent boosters.

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More than 5,000 Utahns have died of COVID-19 — including eight children younger than 14 — since the beginning of the pandemic, according to state data released Thursday.

The state crossed this grim threshold after reporting 12 new deaths this week. One of those deaths was a Davis County boy, age 1-14, who died at the end of August.

Department of Health and Human Services data also shows that tens of thousands more people got vaccinated against the virus in the last seven days.

Nearly 29,000 Utahns received some form of COVID-19 vaccine, driven largely by the availability of the new omicron variant-specific vaccines, DHHS said. More than 12,000 people received a second booster.

[Read more: How to get the new COVID-19 booster in Utah — and whether or not you should get it now]

The seven-day average case count increased slightly from 339 to 360. The state reported 2,487 new cases since last Thursday.

Experts have said 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 prior — 96 compared to 104. The seven-day average number of ICU patients decreased slightly, from 17 to 16.

The percentage of COVID-19 patients who visited emergency rooms also dropped, from 2.39% to 2.07%.

Coronavirus wastewater levels

Wastewater readings show fewer Utah sites — 52.9% of them, compared to 55.9% last week — found either elevated or increasing amounts of coronavirus in sewage.

Seven sites in Box Elder, Weber, Wasatch, Salt Lake, Utah and Washington counties saw “increasing” levels of COVID-19. Trends didn’t change at 21 sites, and six sites found decreasing levels.

Sixteen sites reported “elevated” amounts of COVID-19, and a seven sites were on “watch” status, meaning there is concern levels could become “elevated.” Eleven sites had low levels.

None of Utah’s 29 counties currently meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s threshold for high community COVID-19 levels. 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 12 COVID-19 deaths this week, amounting to 5,001 since the pandemic began.

Breakdown of updated figures:

Vaccine doses administered in the past week/total doses administered • 28,983 / 5,403,548.

Number of Utahns fully vaccinated • 2,053,811 — 63.2% of Utah’s total population. Another 988,501 Utahns have received at least one booster shot — 30.4% of the population.

Cases reported in the past week • 2,487.

Average cases per day reported in the past week • 360.

Deaths reported in the past week • 12.

Salt Lake County reported five deaths, including a woman age 45-64, a man and two women ages 65-84 and a man age 85 or older.

Three Utah County residents were reported to have died, all of them men. Data shows they ranged in age from 25-44, 65-84 and 85 or older.

Davis County reported the death of a boy, 1-14 years old, as well as a woman, age 65-84.

A Cache County woman, age 85 or older, and a Washington County woman, age 65-84, also reportedly died.

Hospitalizations reported this week • As of Thursday, 118 Utahns were hospitalized with COVID-19, four fewer than the previous week. There were 17 patients in intensive care Thursday, five fewer than last Thursday.

Percentage of positive tests • Counting all test results, including repeated tests of the same individual, 12.6% of the tests conducted came back positive, compared with 13.29% at this point last week.

When repeated tests on the same individual are not counted, 16.23% of the tests administered yielded positive results, down from 16.64% the previous week.

Totals to date • 1,034,616 cases; 5,001 deaths; 38,313 hospitalizations.