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FILE (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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7 Utahns Have Died And 2,807 Have Tested Positive For COVID-19

FILE (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Department of Health has reported 2,807 more Utahns have tested positive for COVID-19.

Currently, 389 people with COVID-19 are being treated in hospitals.

Both those numbers are new records for the state.

Officials also reported that seven more of Utah’s residents have died.

“Unfortunately, today’s record high case numbers are not surprising, and if projections out of the Utah Department of Health are correct, we will see much higher numbers in the coming weeks,” Gov. Gary Herbert said. “We will continue to see dramatic increases until we choose to act differently. Medical professionals have warned us again and again. We must change our behavior, if we are to expect a different outcome.”

The governor said he has held emergency meetings with legislative leaders, and he anticipates sharing more information next week about additional steps the state will take.

That information, he said, will include recommendations on refining the state’s new transmission index which rates the spread of the virus in counties as high, moderate, and low.

Herbert said he met earlier this week with white house coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx. She shared suggestions from other states regarding social gatherings and how the virus is spread. “Particularly the need to probably enhance testing and expand our numbers when it comes to testing,” Herbert said. “The good news is they’ve pledged their support and help to make sure that we have the necessary resources and supplies for additional testing.”

He added, “We’re going to take a look at our schools – what we’re doing with our schools and so we’ll be working with our education folks.”

There was a note of optimism from Herbert as well. He said when he met with Dr. Birx and Dr. Stephen Hahn who is commissioner of the FDA, they told him there is a clear belief that a vaccine will be available within the next two months.

“It could happen as soon as the first of December, and again, it will probably be in limited supplies at that time and vaccines will be given to our health care responders, those on the frontlines we need to keep healthy, to our most vulnerable populations, those who have underlying conditions and health care needs, our senior citizens over the age of 70. They will be the first ones to receive the vaccine.”

He said planning is already underway on how to administer the vaccine.

“I want to emphasize as we see these numbers rise, this is not a hoax this is a serious ailment, a serious virus that creates a serious disease and we have people that are catching it, not only getting sick but some of them, unfortunately, are dying.”

He said there is sometimes too much focus on deaths. “We actually have about 20% fewer deaths in Utah than we have in the rest of the United States on average. That’s good news but one death is one death too many.”

The economy is a constant concern as long as the high number of cases continues. “If we have high spikes in our case numbers, fewer people are going to come to Utah to ski. Our tourism travel industry is already hard-hit because of it and we could continue to have that loss of revenue and loss of opportunity. We’re down probably 17 or 18 percent in the hospitality industry right now today, and unless we get a handle on the case numbers, it’s not going to improve.”

Herbert referenced a recent Deseret News article by Marie Dougherty who compared the current pandemic to the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918.

“It is eerily similar to what we’re going through today. And I would say that we ought to look at the past and see what we can learn from it and make sure that we modify our behavior and learn from the past to make it a better here and today.”

Testing

On Thursday, UDOH reported 1,125,606 residents have been tested. That’s an increase of 13,620 from Wednesday’s report.

Of those tested, a total of 124,292 people have tested positive.

The rolling seven-day average for positive tests is 1,943 per day, and the rolling seven-day average for percent of positive laboratory tests is 19.5%.

Hospitalizations

There are 389 people who are currently hospitalized with the virus, and 158 of those are in intensive care units.

UDOH reports all non-ICU beds are 55.2% occupied.

Utah’s ICU beds are now 78.4% occupied.

Utah Department of Health

Deaths

Authorities reported seven more Utahns have died as a result of COVID-19. In total, 632 people have lost their lives.

Davis County

A woman between 65 – 84 who was hospitalized has died.

Salt Lake County

Two men older than 85 who were both residents of long-term care facilities and a woman older than 85 who was a resident of a long-term care facility have died.

Tooele County

A man between 65 – 84 who was hospitalized has died.

Utah County

Two men between 65 – 84, one of whom was hospitalized, have died.

UDOH also noted that one previously reported COVID-19 death has been removed following further investigation.

For more information, visit coronavirus.utah.gov.

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