CORONAVIRUS UTAH

Utah reports 1,406 COVID-19 cases, 11 additional deaths

Dec 22, 2021, 1:57 PM | Updated: 2:04 pm
FILE (Courtesy of Intermountain Healthcare)...
FILE (Courtesy of Intermountain Healthcare)
(Courtesy of Intermountain Healthcare)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Department of Health on Wednesday said 11 more Utahns have died due to COVID-19 and 1,406 residents have tested positive for the virus since yesterday.

UDOH said two of those deaths occurred before Dec. 1 and said the public dashboard will not be updated on Friday (Christmas Eve).

Of those cases, 167 (11.88%) were in school-aged children:

  • 72 cases in children ages 5-10
  • 44 cases in children ages 11-13
  • 51 cases in children ages 14-18

Statement on omicron variant

UDOH released the following statement on Wednesday, saying health officials estimate at least 30% of COVID-19 cases in Utah may be the omicron variant, and vaccination and booster shots still offer the best protection against severe illness from COVID-19:

“Omicron is quickly spreading across the U.S. While our public dashboard only shows 7 confirmed cases of Omicron, it’s very likely that we have far more cases of Omicron in the state based on what we know about this variant right now. We estimate at least 30% of cases in Utah may now be Omicron, as of Monday, December 20th.

“This estimate is based on PCR tests conducted at Intermountain Healthcare using the Thermo Fisher TaqPath, a PCR testing platform that detects S gene target failures (SGTFs). SGTFs signal a possible Omicron case at the time a PCR test is conducted. On December 20th, among 813 positive tests in Utah, 175 were conducted at Intermountain Healthcare using the Thermo Fisher TaqPath platform. Of these tests, 34% demonstrated SGTF. Only PCR positive samples can be used for whole-genome sequencing to determine variants. The cases reported on our public dashboard only reflect the number of confirmed samples which have completed all steps in the whole-genome sequencing process. There is often a lag between sample collection and genomic sequencing. While there are some other variants with this same characteristic, it’s more likely that we are seeing a rapid rise in Omicron cases.

“Our Utah Public Health Laboratory (UPHL) has robust genetic sequencing capabilities and can sequence up to 3,100 samples each week. Due to a mechanical issue, the UPHL was only able to perform a limited amount of sequencing the week of December 13th. This problem was addressed this week and we expect to have sequencing results to report this coming Monday.

“We are still learning about Omicron. It’s likely we will see more breakthrough cases with Omicron; however, what we know right now, is vaccination and booster shots still offer the best protection against severe illness from COVID-19. The CDC and the UDOH strongly recommend adults 16 and older get booster doses when they are eligible (6 months after receiving their Pfizer or Moderna shots, or 2 months after receiving their Johnson & Johnson shot). To find out where you can get vaccinated, visit https://coronavirus.utah.gov/vaccine-distribution.”

Hospitalizations

Currently, 457 people are hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 180 of those people are in intensive care units.

Utah’s ICUs were 94.4% full and the ICU beds in Utah’s 16 referral centers, where the majority of COVID-19 patients are treated, were at 98% capacity Wednesday — above the state’s utilization threshold or “functionally full” mark of 85%.

(UDOH)

Thirty-three percent of Utah’s ICU usage is due to COVID-19 patients. Utah’s ICUs have been above the functionally full mark since Aug. 23.

“At about 69% overall ICU utilization, ICUs in Utah’s major hospitals with the ability to provide best care for COVID-19 patients begin to reach staffing capacity,” UDOH officials said. “Seventy-two percent use among all hospitals and 77% in referral center hospitals creates major strains on the health care system. When 85% capacity is reached, Utah will be functionally out of staffed ICU beds, indicating an overwhelmed hospital system.”

Researcher, widow say numbers alone don’t convey the toll of the COVID-19 pandemic

Vaccinations

As of Wednesday, 4,465,357 vaccine doses have been given in Utah — an increase of 16,694 since yesterday. Over 1.88 million Utahns are now fully vaccinated, over 2.13 million have received at least one dose of a vaccine and 595,605 have received a booster dose.

Over 5.41 million vaccine doses have been delivered to the Beehive State.

The eligible population for vaccinations has changed with the expansion of vaccines to the 5- to 11-year-old age group. The state’s dashboard now includes a breakout of vaccines administered for that age group and booster dose administrations.

(UDOH) (UDOH) (UDOH) (UDOH)

Data includes the total number of people who have received a booster dose, a breakdown by age (over 65 and under 65), and data on the type of booster dose people have received.

Children ages 5-11 are eligible to receive a smaller dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, which has been fully approved by the FDA and CDC, and appointments are available across the state.

All Utahns age 18 and older, who received their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine more than six months ago, or a Johnson & Johnson vaccine more than two months ago, are also eligible for a booster shot.

Teens ages 16 and 17 are also eligible for a Pfizer booster dose.

The FDA and CDC have approved booster doses for Americans and urged those age 50 and older to seek one.

Vaccinated vs. unvaccinated risk ratios

In the last 28 days, people who are unvaccinated are at 16.4 times greater risk of dying from COVID-19, 9.6 times greater risk of being hospitalized due to COVID-19, and 3.7 times greater risk of testing positive for COVID-19 than vaccinated people.

Since Feb. 1, people who are unvaccinated are at 6.8 times greater risk of dying from COVID-19, 5.6 times greater risk of being hospitalized due to COVID-19, and 2.5 times greater risk of testing positive for COVID-19 than vaccinated people.

(UDOH)

Testing

UDOH reports 4,163,884 people have been tested — 10,444 more since yesterday. Of those, 622,414 Utahns have tested positive for COVID-19 — an increase of 1,406 new cases.

The rolling seven-day average for positive tests was 981 — up from 978 on Monday but down from 1,136 last Monday.

(UDOH)

On June 1, Utah’s rolling seven-day average had dropped to 200 cases.

The rolling seven-day average for percent positivity of “people over people” dropped to 11.6% while the rolling seven-day average for percent positivity of “tests over tests” dropped to 8%.

Deaths

The virus has killed 3,749 of the state’s residents. Two of the following deaths, which were reported Wednesday, occurred before Dec. 1:

  • Female, between 15-24, Utah County resident, unknown if hospitalized at time of death***not a minor
  • Male, between 25-44, Salt Lake County resident, hospitalized at time of death
  • Male, between 45-64, Utah County resident, unknown if hospitalized at time of death
  • Female, between 65-84, Washington County resident, hospitalized at time of death
  • Female, between 65-84, Salt Lake County resident, hospitalized at time of death
  • Female, between 25-44, Salt Lake County resident, hospitalized at time of death
  • Male, older than 85, Utah County resident, long-term care facility resident
  • Female, between 65-84, Salt Lake County resident, hospitalized at time of death
  • Female, between 65-84, Washington County resident, hospitalized at time of death
  • Female, between 25-44, Utah County resident, hospitalized at time of death
  • Male, between 65-84, Iron County resident, hospitalized at time of death

Nationwide Numbers


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.

Click here to sign up for a vaccine and here to see how Utah’s vaccine rollout is progressing.

The latest COVID-19 stories from KSL can be found here.

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:

  • Get vaccinated and a booster dose if it has been more than six months (Pfizer/Moderna) since your second dose or two months (J&J) since your first
  • 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.

The CDC recommends Americans should continue wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies).

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Utah reports 1,406 COVID-19 cases, 11 additional deaths