Utah reaches 100,000 vaccinations in a week for the first time

Health officials report 710 new cases and four more deaths Sunday.

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Utah surpassed 100,000 vaccinations in a seven-day period for the first time Sunday, totaling 108,289 new shots in arms over the past week. Relatedly, case numbers fell throughout the week, giving the state its lowest total number of coronavirus cases since September.

Utah saw 6,686 new cases this past week, the lowest weekly tally of coronavirus cases since the ramp-up in mid-September. The continued decline comes as more people generate some sort of immunity to the virus, either through being vaccinated or having beaten the disease.

On Sunday, the Utah Department of Health reported 710 new cases and four more deaths. Two men between ages 45 and 64, one in Utah County and one in Sevier County, died. A third man, between age 65 and 84 in Davis County, also died, as did a woman between 45 and 64 in Washington County. All were hospitalized at time of death.

COVID-19 hospitalizations are now responsible for 21% of ICU capacity, the lowest rate since mid-October. Overall, 77.1% of Utah’s ICU beds are full — a number that exceeds the state’s “utilization warning” figure, but falls short of the 85% “utilization threshold.”

Still, this past week was a promising step forward in the battle against the coronavirus, thanks to progress made on the vaccination front. As Utah entered six-figures of vaccine doses administered per week for the first time, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox asked for volunteers to help distribute shots at mass vaccination sites. As of Friday, 2,100 volunteers had signed up to give their time through UtahResponds.org.

The state also began releasing demographic information on vaccinated people. Overall, about 60% of Utah’s 70-plus population has been vaccinated with at least one dose. Other age groups, from 16 to 69, have been vaccinated at 7% to 14% rates — the vaccines that have been allocated to health care workers, teachers and first responders are responsible for those figures. The data also shows that vaccination rates have been significantly lower in Utah’s minority communities so far.

So far, San Juan County has had the highest vaccination rate, with just over 30 doses administered for every 100 residents. Utah County has had the lowest vaccination rate, with about 13 doses administered for every 100 residents — and had unfilled vaccination slots early last week.

Seventeen Walmart stores in Utah and one Sam’s Club began administering vaccines Friday to those 70 and over. Smith’s also began vaccinating eligible people this past week.

Vaccinations reported in past day/total vaccinations • 11,811 / 524,000.

Number of Utahns who have received two doses • 160,214.

Cases reported in past day • 710.

Deaths reported in past day • 4.

Current hospitalizations reported in past day • 278. That’s down 20 from Saturday. Of those currently hospitalized, 111 are in intensive care units — five fewer than Saturday.

Tests reported in past day • 4,635 people were tested for the first time. A total of 9,686 people were tested Saturday.

Percentage of positive tests • Under the state’s original method, the rate is 15.3%. That’s slightly higher than the seven-day average of 14.1%.

Its new method counts all test results, including repeated tests of the same individual. Today’s rate is now at 7.3%, higher than the seven-day average of 6.4%.

[Read more: Utah is changing how it measures the rate of positive COVID-19 tests. Here’s what that means.]

Totals to date • 361,294 cases; 1,794 deaths; 14,189 hospitalizations; 3,594,478 tests.