State Reports 4 New Virus-Related Deaths, 83 New Cases
Apr 21, 2020, 12:06 PM | Updated: 3:27 pm
(Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – There have been four new virus-related deaths in Utah, bringing the total number of fatalities to 32.
According to information released by the Utah Department of Health on Tuesday, there were 83 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases to 3,296.
Of those confirmed cases, 277 required hospitalization.
Officials said 4,057 people were tested Monday, which was second only to April 17, when 4,104 people were tested.
State epidemiologist Angela Dunn said the four patients whose deaths were reported Tuesday were all over the age of 60. They were all hospitalized at the times of death and had underlying medical conditions. Two of them were residents of a long-term care facility.
Three were residents of Salt Lake County and one was a resident of Weber County.
Sixteen of the 32 reported deaths have been among individuals who were infected with COVID-19 at a long-term care facility, Dunn said.
“This number, while tragic, it could be a lot higher as we have seen in other states where a single long-term care facility outbreak has resulted in more deaths than this,” she said.
Any resident who is experiencing one or more symptoms of COVID-19 should get tested, Dunn said. Those symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, muscle aches and pains, decreased sense of smell and taste, and sore throat. Testing is free through the CARES act. Click here for more information on testing and to find a location.
The state estimated 888 patients have recovered.
LIVE: State is holding its daily coronavirus briefing. 4 new deaths and 83 new confirmed cases were reported today.
Posted by KSL 5 TV on Tuesday, April 21, 2020
Dunn credited the staff at Utah’s long-term care facilities for preparing since early January to quickly identify any coronavirus cases and limit the spread in buildings.
“They are doing a great job and I really want to recognize the long-term care facility staff out there whose job is more stressful now than ever, and yet so important to protecting this very vulnerable population,” she said. “They’re protecting not only the health of their residents but also their mental health well-being as families aren’t allowed to visit.”
Dunn added, “Thank you to all of the long-term care facilities staff out there who are essential in this response.”
When there is a known case of COVID-19 in a nursing home, local health department crews will test all residents and staff. Dunn said there is proactive testing underway at facilities that do not have any known cases.
The University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation recently released updated projections that said deaths could peak in Utah on Saturday and hospitalizations on Friday.
These projections continually change and Dunn has called them inaccurate. She has said over the past few days that there are indications that Utah is flattening the curve.
“We have the luxury in this state to be able to test anybody with the mildest of symptoms related to COVID-19,” Dunn said.
People are now able to get tested if they show symptoms like fever, cough, shortness of breath, muscle aches and pains, sore throat or a decreased sense of taste or smell.
“We really need people who have these most mild of symptoms to get tested so that we, as public health, can have really good data to identify the burden of spread across our state that will be informing policy and public health interventions,” Dunn said.
Summit County was one area where the state has focused testing efforts.
“Summit County has been a hot spot since the beginning of this outbreak,” said Dunn. “They were really the first health district to have a big cluster of cases around a specific exposure site and that has continued throughout the outbreak.”
Health officials said 13 additional people tested positive for COVID-19 from Sunday to Monday, but Dunn said the county has worked effectively to limit the spread.
“Their social distancing restrictions are working to decrease the spread within that county,” she said.
The health department targeted specific hot spots over the weekend for testing of both symptomatic and asymptomatic people, Dunn added.
“That’s likely the reason why we did see those 13 cases identified in Summit County because there were specific targeted efforts going on over the weekend,” she said.
For information on the coronavirus in Utah, go to coronavirus.utah.gov.
To find a testing location near you, go to coronavirus.utah.gov/testing-locations.