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State works to cancel appointments after 7,200 people without qualifying conditions are able to schedule shots

Utah reports 22 new deaths from COVID-19, 686 new cases and a glitch in vaccination registrations.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Kenley Hansen gets a COVID-19 vaccination from Kirsten Weber, as Utah County residents lined up for vaccinations in a former Shopko store in Spanish Fork, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021.

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Utahns not among the high-risk groups currently designated for shots who were able to schedule a COVID-19 vaccination through the state website will now see those appointments canceled.

On Saturday, officials learned there was a glitch in the state process that allowed some residents to register even if they were not 65 or older or had a qualifying medical condition.

[Update: A flawed design by state employees allowed 7,200 unqualified Utahs to sign up for COVID-19 vaccine, officials say]

According to a statement Saturday evening from Tom Hudachko, director of communications for the Utah Department of Health, approximately 7,200 people who did not meet eligibility requirements were able to make appointments.

“These appointments will be canceled over the next 24 hours, and email notifications will be sent to each person whose appointment has been canceled,” the statement read. “Several hundred people, after learning of the error on social media, have already canceled appointments on their own.

“If anyone feels their appointment has been canceled in error, they should contact the local health department where they scheduled their appointment, or try scheduling their appointment again online.”

[Read more: Utahns sought COVID-19 vaccine in good faith. But their slots were a state mistake, and they feel vilified.]

People who went directly to the state’s vaccination site, filled out the form and answered the questions truthfully — even if they did not have a qualifying medical condition — were able to secure available appointments, the Salt Lake County Health Department said in a statement Saturday afternoon.

“We ask the public to refrain from making appointments if they do not have a qualifying medical condition,” the statement said. “We ask that they cancel that appointment so someone at higher risk can take it and receive the vaccine.”

Those who go through the Salt Lake County Health Department website must “certify” that they have a qualifying medical condition. Those conditions are listed on that same page.

“If they answer that question truthfully and honestly and check the box certifying that they do,” the statement said, “they will then be directed to the state’s vaccination site and will be able to create an account (if they don’t already have one) and secure an available appointment.”

People who meet the state qualification can keep their appointments.

The vaccination glitch came on a day when the number of COVID-19 cases in Utah remained below four figures, with 686 cases reported Saturday. That marks two weeks when the daily case counts have been below 1,000.

The state recorded 22 new deaths from the virus, however, 12 men and 10 women. Nineteen of those deaths occurred before Feb. 6, the Utah Department of Health said.

Vaccinations administered in past day/total vaccinations • 19,757/702,293.

Number of Utahns who have received two doses • 249,398.

Cases reported in past day • 686.

Deaths reported in past day • 22.

They include:

• Seven from Salt Lake County, two men between ages 65 and 84; and five women between 65 and 84.

• Four from Washington County, one man and one woman, both older than 85; two men between 65 and 84.

• Three from Utah County, one man older than 85; and two women between 65 and 84.

• Two from Beaver County, a man older than 85 and a man between 65 and 84

• Two from Emery County, a woman older than 85; and a man between 65 and 84.

• Two from Weber County, two men between 45 and 64.

• One from Cache County, a woman between 65 and 84

• One from Davis County, a man between 65 and 84.

Hospitalizations reported in past day • 223, eight fewer than Friday. Of those currently hospitalized, 89 are in intensive care units — five fewer than Friday.

Tests reported in past day • 6,752 people were tested for the first time. A total of 17,724 people were tested.

Percentage of positive tests • Under the state’s original method, the rolling seven-day average is 12.2%.

The state’s new method counts all test results, including repeated tests of the same individual. The rolling seven-day average is now at 5.5%.

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

Totals to date • 370,770 cases; 1,929 deaths; 14,664 hospitalizations; 3,798,843 people tested.



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