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FILE (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
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676 New Cases Of COVID-19, 2 More Deaths, 31 Additional Hospitalizations

FILE (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, UtahThe Utah Department of Health reported the highest number of confirmed cases in a single day so far.

On Friday, officials announced 676 new cases of COVID-19, as well as two more deaths and 31 new hospitalizations.

“For the second time in a week, we are announcing our highest daily case count total,” said state epidemiologist Angela Dunn. “These cases affect all Utah residents. They have the potential to threaten our economy, and our ability to ensure people can receive the care they need in our hospitals.”

Currently, there are 170 COVID-19 positive patients in Utah hospitals, 79 of whom are in ICU beds. There are also 60 patients hospitalized as COVID-19 persons under investigation.

The UDOH reports 66.2% of all ICU beds are now occupied, and 52% of all non-ICU beds are occupied.

Utah has issued 317,568 lab tests so far, and the rate of overall positives has ticked up slightly to 6.3% of those tested.  The state has reported a total of 20,050 positive cases so far.

“Each one of these cases represents a household that will now be required to quarantine,” Dunn said. “This means parents will be unable to go to work and children will be unable to see their friends. Each one of these cases inches us closer to maxing out our hospital capacity. If this happens, some Utahns who need hospital care may not be able to get it. And each one of these cases poses a clear and significant danger to somebody who falls into a high-risk category.”

Of the new cases, 40% – or 275 – came from the Hispanic or Latino community.

At a press conference held in Spanish on Thursday, officials said the coronavirus has struck disproportionately among Hispanic or Latino residents of Utah. Despite making up just 14.2% of the Beehive State’s population, 43.2% of positive cases in the state have come from this community.

To date, there have been a total of 166 virus deaths statewide, including the two deaths reported Friday.

One of the deaths was a Weber County man between the ages of 65 – 84 who was a long-term care facility resident. The other death was a Salt Lake County man who was older than 85 and a resident of a long-term care facility.

“We need large-scale behavior change on the part of all Utahns to reverse this trend,” Dunn said. “Everyone, whether it’s required in your county or not, needs to be wearing a mask in order to help protect those around you. Everyone should be practicing physical distancing, staying home if they’re sick, and washing their hands regularly.”

New cases of COVID-19 have surged across the United States, with an all time high of 40,000 new cases confirmed Friday morning. In Utah, Salt Lake and Summit counties have taken new measures to slow the spread of the virus by making face coverings mandatory for those in public spaces where social distancing isn’t an option.

Currently, 10 Utah counties are in the green, or new normal, phase of the state’s reopening plan. The remainder of the state is in yellow, or low-risk, phase with the exception of Salt Lake City, which is in the orange, or moderate-risk, phase.

The CDC has reported that wearing face coverings, along with social distancing and good hand hygiene, is one the best ways to keep asymptomatic carriers of the coronavirus from unintentionally spreading it.

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