Utah reports 1,819 new coronavirus cases Monday, as rates continue to decline

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Infections disease physician Kashif Memon, gets a covid-19 vaccine from Melissa Clayton, Inpatient Director, as Lehi's Mountain Point Medical Center gives out its first COVID-19 vaccines on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020.

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Utah’s rate of new coronavirus diagnoses continued to decline Monday, with 1,819 new diagnoses reported.

The Utah Department of Health on Monday reported a seven-day average of 2,423 new positive test results per day — the lowest rate since Nov. 30.

And about 6,500 Utahns had received the COVID-19 vaccine as of Monday’s report, up nearly 2,900 from Sunday.

But Utah’s death toll from the coronavirus rose to 1,161 on Monday, with more than 200 Utahns dying from the virus in the past two weeks. There were six fatalities reported since Sunday:

  • A Weber County man, age 65 to 84.

  • A Salt Lake County man, age 65 to 84.

  • A Salt Lake County woman, older than 85.

  • A Salt Lake County man, age 25 to 44

  • A Washington County man, age 65 to 84.

  • A Washington County man, age 45 to 64.

Hospitalizations held steady Monday, with 551 Utah patients concurrently admitted, UDOH reported. In total, 10,102 patients have been hospitalized in Utah for COVID-19, up about 1,200 in the past two weeks.

Intensive care units were about 87% full at hospitals statewide Monday, with the state’s larger “referral” hospitals reporting about 91% occupancy. The figures don’t account for staffing fluctuations or demand for specialists and equipment needed by coronavirus patients; as a result, hospital administrators have said, most ICUs cannot exceed 85% capacity for long without care quality declining.

Although Utah’s ICUs remained above that threshold Monday, numbers were down slightly from last week, when ICUs statewide surpassed 99% capacity, and referral ICUs exceeded 100%.

While new cases appeared to be declining, the percent of tests coming back positive was on the rise. For the past week, 23.2% of all tests have come back positive — a rate that indicates a large number of infected people are not being tested and may be spreading the virus unwittingly, state officials have said.

There were 6,359 new test results reported Monday, well below the weeklong average of more than 11,300 new tests per day.

Central Utah still was reporting the state’s highest infection rates per capita. In Sanpete County, more than 1 in 48 residents had tested positive for the virus in the past two weeks — meaning their cases are considered “active.”

That figure rises to 1 in 38 within the towns of the Sanpete Valley. And in Millard County, 1 in every 49 residents were diagnosed with active cases, with 1 in 46 in the Delta-Fillmore area.

Meanwhile, Beaver County reported a record-high rate of more than 1 in 61 residents with active infections. Locally, more than 1 in 70 residents had active infections in nine of the Utah’s 99 “small areas,” used by state officials to study health trends.

Apart from those in Sanpete and Millard counties, they are: Lehi; northern Orem; Eagle Mountain and the Cedar Valley; Herriman; Saratoga Springs; Washington City; and Draper.

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