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14 More Utahns Dead; 3,674 New Coronavirus Cases; Hospitalizations Top 600

About a dozen members of the Utah National Guard operate a mobile COVID-19 testing site for the state department of health. (KSL TV)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Department of Health reported 14 more Utahns have died of COVID-19, with 3,674 new coronavirus cases in the last day and 603 people hospitalized.

The latest numbers were released just before 1 p.m. Saturday.

Testing

The Utah Department of Health reported that a total of 1,485,811 residents have been tested for the novel coronavirus – an increase of 14,838 of the total reported Friday.

Of those, a total of 212,844 have tested positive for the virus – an increase of 3,674 cases since Friday. The rate of positive tests since Friday was 24.8 percent.

The rolling seven-day average for positive tests was 2,985 per day, and the rolling seven-day average for percent of positive laboratory tests was 25.5 percent.

Deaths

The latest COVID-19 deaths in Utah included 10 women and 4 men. All but one were age 65 or older.

There have been 939 total deaths of residents from the disease in the Beehive State since the pandemic began.

Utah’s two most populated counties attributed for 12 of the deaths.

Salt Lake County

Six additional Salt Lake County residents have died of COVID-19, including four women and two men.

Two of the women were between the ages of 65 and 84, and were being treated in the hospital. Another woman in the same age range was a resident of a long-term care facility.

One other woman over the age of 85 who died of the disease was a resident in a long-term care facility.

One of the men who died was between the ages of 65 and 84. The other man was older than 85. Both were residents of long-term care facilities.

There have been a total of 427 COVID-19 deaths in the county.

Utah County

Health officials also reported six deaths in Utah County – four women and two men – all of whom were living in long-term care facilities.

Three of the women were between the ages of 65 to 84. The other woman and one of the men were over the age of 85.

A man between the ages of 45 to 64 also succumbed to COVID-19, according to the Department of Health.

The county has reported 154 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

Washington County

Officials said Washington County resident between the ages of 65 to 84 was hospitalized when he died of the disease.

The Southwest Utah Public Health Department has reported 96 deaths in the area, which included Washington, Iron, Kane, Beaver and Garfield counties.

Washington County has reported 81 of those deaths.

Weber County

A Weber County man between the ages of 65 to 84 was living in a long-term care facility when he died.

He was the 65th COVID-19 death reported by the Weber-Morgan Health Department, and 62nd in Weber County.

Hospitalizations

The health department reported 603 people were being treated for COVID-19 in Utah hospitals. Total hospitalizations since the pandemic began was 8,765 people.

Myths & Misconceptions

The KSL Investigates team responded to claims that the numbers reported by the Utah Department of Health were inflated.

They also looked into claims that anyone who died of other causes, but happened to be positive for the virus at the time of their death, was included in the health department’s numbers, regardless of the circumstances of their death.

Health officials said that’s not the case.

“About 15-18 percent of all deaths go through the medical examiner,” said Becky Ward, a health educator with the Department of Health’s Bureau of Epidemiology. “It’s not unusual, it’s not atypical, but we want to make sure [COVID-19] deaths are verified and certified as a cause of death.”

Ward said every deceased person whose body goes to the medical examiner receives a COVID-19 test. However, if the autopsy does not reveal that COVID-19 was the cause of death, it is not listed as such.

“It will not just automatically be listed as the cause of death,” she continued.

Myth: “The Flu is Worse Than COVID”

The KSL Investigators also wanted to find truth with the notion that the flu is worse than COVID.

“COVID is so much more serious,” Ward told KSL TV. “It spreads easier, and it is more infectious.”

According to Utah’s influenza report, the 2017-2018 flu season was the most severe of the last six years, with a cumulative hospitalization rate of 71.06 per 100,000 Utahns.

Ward said hospitalizations from COVID-19 since March 2020 have had a cumulative rate of 213.95 per 100,000 Utahns – three times higher that of the flu.

“What we have been seeing is that COVID causes more hospitalizations, and it has caused more deaths,” said Ward.

According to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2018 showed 353 Utahns died from both influenza and pneumonia that year.

COVID-19 has already killed more than twice that number in Utah, with nearly 868 deaths as a result of the virus.

Myth: “A Rushed Vaccine Make It Less Safe”

Two pharmaceutical companies said they were ready for approval for their COVID-19 vaccines from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The KSL Investigators spoke with Dr. Sankar Swaminathan, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Utah. He said, if the vaccines are approved by the FDA, the public should feel comfortable.

“There’s no evidence that any of the components of any vaccine that’s approved for use is fundamentally dangerous,” he said. “If it were, it wouldn’t be approved.”

LINK: More on Brittany Glas’ report about the safety of approved vaccines

National/Worldwide Numbers

There have been nearly 14.5 million confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States. Just under 280,000 people have died of the disease, according to numbers compiled by the Coronavirus Resource Center at John Hopkins University.

Across the globe there have been 66.2 million cases and 1,524,569 million deaths.

With just 4 percent of the worldwide population, the United States has accounted for 21.8 percent of all confirmed cases and 18.4 percent of all deaths.

The first US case was confirmed on January 21, 2020. The number of new cases in the nation has skyrocketed in November, with a spike significantly higher than any other country.


Coronavirus Resources

Have you or a family member been affected by coronavirus issues in Utah? KSL wants to hear from you. Contact KSL by emailing social@ksl.com.

What is COVID-19? Here’s What You Need To Know To Stay Healthy: ksltv.com/432037/what-is-covid-19/

Latest coronavirus stories from KSL can be found at ksltv.com/coronavirus/.

Where in the world has the coronavirus already appeared? See the map: ksltv.com/?p=432035

Your Life Your Health: How can parents prepare their home, children against coronavirusksltv.com/?p=432060

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 is not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

The CDC does not recommend wearing a facemask respirator to protect yourself from coronavirus unless a healthcare professional recommends it.

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