10 New Deaths, 566 New COVID-19 Cases In Utah; 197 Currently Hospitalized
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Gov. Gary Herbert was joined by state epidemiologist Angela Dunn and Jake Fitisemanu, the chair off the Utah Pacific Islander Health Coalition and a member of the Multicultural Subcommittee, for an update Wednesday on the state’s efforts during the pandemic.
Herbert drew a comparison between Utahns dealing with the pandemic and the pioneers, saying both are battling detractors and fatigue, and, of course, illness. He called for residents to come together as the pioneers did.
“Instead of giving in to despair or pointing fingers, the early pioneers came together in unity, mutual respect and a spirit of shared sacrifice and responsibility,” he said.
He asked Utahns to celebrate the upcoming Pioneer Day weekend safely and in smaller groups than usual.
“Gather outside, rather than indoors, as much as possible,” Herbert said. “Outside groups are much less likely to spread the virus accidentally to one another.”
The governor noted that people can spread the virus without realizing they’re sick, too, making face coverings important. He directed Utahns to recent research conducted by BYU that showed the benefits of wearing masks and dispelled some rumors about wearing face coverings.
He said wearing a mask is a sign of respect. “Being a good neighbor, if you love your neighbor, let’s see what we can do to protect them from catching the virus and so wear the mask as a good citizen.”
Dunn said even though cases are high, trends are positive in Utah over the past week.
The rolling seven-day average is 627 positive cases per day, or 9.5% of those tested.
“This is a decrease from last week when we are at 10.4 percent, and our number of tested remains stable from day to day,”Dunn said. “We’ve seen only a 2% increase in our active hospitalizations in the past 14 days compared to the previous two weeks. Our overall hospitalization rate is now at 6%.”
Dunn added there is evidence of a plateau with a decrease in the total statewide cases every day, adding the decrease is partly due to a large drop in virus cases in Salt Lake County where Mayor Jenny Wilson issued a mandate to wear face masks in public.
With the limited Pioneer Day celebrations coming up this weekend, Herbert urged residents to do all they can to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“I would suggest to us all that we gather outside whenever that’s possible,” he said. “Physical distancing is still very important, something we’re not used to doing but standing six feet away from each other helps us stop and slow the spread of the coronavirus.”
Utah’s Pacific Islander Community
Fitzmanu at the briefing said the more than 47,000 Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in Utah have the highest infection rate and highest hospitalization rate for COVID-19 in Salt Lake County and the second highest infection and hospitalization rate in the state overall.
“Many factors contribute to this disparity, including a high prevalence of underlying health conditions that make folks more susceptible to contracting and more at a higher risk of complications and hospitalizations,” he said.
Fitzmanu explained there are other factors.
“We have housing and family dynamics that increase the likelihood of spread through large, multi-generational households,” he said.
He also cited cultural practices and customs that just simply are not aligned with recommended social distancing practices.
He added, “Our Pacific Islander populations in Utah are geographically concentrated in some of the zip codes with the highest infection rates currently.”
“For these reasons and others, our Pacific Islander community is that much greater risk of contracting COVID-19 at a greater risk of being hospitalized and possibly succumbing to COVID-19,” he said.
Wednesday’s COVID-19 Numbers
The Utah Department of Health on Wednesday announced 566 new COVID-19 cases and 10 new deaths. One of the deaths reported Tuesday was removed from the state’s list of coronavirus deaths while it is being investigated, bringing the state’s overall pandemic death count to 260.
Authorities reported the following deaths:
- Female, between 65-84, not hospitalized at time of death
Salt Lake County
- Male, between 45-65, hospitalized at time of death, long-term care facility resident
- Male, between 45-64, hospitalized at time of death
- Male, between 65-84, not hospitalized at time of death, long term care facility resident
- Female, older than 85, not hospitalized at time of death, long term care facility resident
- Male, between 15-24, not hospitalized at time of death
- Female, between 65-84, hospitalized at time of death
- Male, between 65-84, not hospitalized at time of death
- Female, between 45-64, not hospitalized at time of death, long term care facility resident
- Male, between 65-84, hospitalized at time of death, long term care facility resident
LIVE: Gov. Herbert, sate leaders hold press conference with updates on COVID-19 pandemic efforts in Utah
Posted by KSL 5 TV on Wednesday, July 22, 2020
There are currently 197 patients hospitalized with the virus. Of those, 94 are in intensive care units. Another 37 patients are currently hospitalized as COVID-19 persons under investigation.
Currently, 47.5% of all non ICU beds and 62% of all ICU beds in the state are occupied.
The state is also reporting that 22,532 patients are considered recovered, meaning they received a positive diagnosis more than three weeks ago and they have not died.
Herbert acknowledge how difficult this year has already been.
“It’s been an adventure to say the least,” he said. “We’re battling fatigue. We have fatigue over illness that’s taking place … we have fatigue over the concept of having to social distance.”
Herbert also discussed other major challenges.
“We’ve had wildfires. We still have about 10 or so in the state right now. We’ve also battled during this time, an earthquake and nearly two thousand aftershocks,” he said. “To say that 2020 is a challenging year is probably the understatement of the day, and it’s probably something that we’ll be talking about for years to come.”
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How Do I Prevent It?
The CDC has some simple recommendations, most of which are the same for preventing other respiratory illnesses or the flu:
- Avoid close contact with people who may be sick
- Avoid touching your face
- Stay home when you are sick
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
How To Get Help
If you’re worried you may have COVID-19, go to TestingUtah.com to schedule a test, or contact the Utah Coronavirus Information Line at 1-800-456-7707 to speak to trained healthcare professionals. You can also use telehealth service through your healthcare providers.
If you see evidence of PRICE GOUGING, the Utah Attorney General’s Office wants you to report it. Common items in question include toilet paper, water, hand sanitizer, certain household cleaners, and even cold medicine and baby formula. Authorities are asking anyone who sees price gouging to report it to the Utah Division of Consumer Protection at 801-530-6601 or 800-721-7233. The division can also be reached by email at email@example.com.
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