Utah Reports 954 New Cases As State Adds Backlogged Numbers

Jul 16, 2020, 11:43 AM | Updated: 1:02 pm
Dr. Angela Dunn speaks during a COVID-19 update on July 16, 2020...
Dr. Angela Dunn speaks during a COVID-19 update on July 16, 2020

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Department of Health on Thursday announced 954 new cases of COVID-19, however, that number does not reflect a single-day increase, authorities said.

According to UDOH, 251 of the new cases were the results of antigen testing that has occurred in some labs since early June.

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“UDOH has reviewed the accuracy of antigen test data and we are now including these results in the daily count of positive and negative cases,” according to the department’s statement. “Like PCR tests, antigen tests tell you if you have COVID-19 right now. A PCR test identifies an infection by detecting viral RNA, an antigen test identifies infection by detecting a protein that is part of the COVID-19 virus. Both tests are conducted using a nasal swab. Antigen tests are able to return results faster than PCR tests.”

An additional 50 of the cases were also added due to an electronic data reporting delay, UDOH said.

The rolling seven-day average for positive tests is 619 per day, officials said, which equals 10.4% of positive laboratory tests.

The state has issued 439,528 tests so far, with 7,448 tests issued since Wednesday.

So far during the pandemic, Utah has seen 31,845 positive cases, 1,956 hospitalizations and 234 total deaths.

A new death was reported Thursday, a Salt Lake County woman between the ages of 65 – 84 who was a resident of a long-term care facility.

Health officials report there are 199 patients hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 89 of those are in intensive care units. There are also 37 patients hospitalized as COVID-19 persons under investigation. Currently, 54.5% of all non-ICU beds and 69.1% of all ICU beds across the state are occupied.

Dr. Tom Miller, the chief medical officer for University of Utah Health, spoke at Thursday’s press conference to reiterate the importance of wearing masks to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

He reminded Utahns that masks stop the spread of disease from the person who is wearing it. Since many COVID-19 infected people can be asymptomatic, they might not know they have the virus. Wearing the mask stops droplets from an infected person – who, again, might know know he or she is infected – from becoming airborne and infecting others.

“You would not want a surgeon performing surgery without a mask,” he said. “Masks are our medicine until we have an effective treatment for COVID-19.”

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Utah Reports 954 New Cases As State Adds Backlogged Numbers