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Almost exactly 22 months after the first Utahn died of COVID-19, the state’s death toll surged past 4,000. The Utah Department of Health reported 22 deaths on Thursday, bringing the total to 4,019 since the pandemic began.
“In reporting these numbers each day, hopefully we never lose sight of the fact that behind each number is a life cut short, a grieving family, grieving friends,” said UDOH director of communications Tom Hudachko. “We report these numbers every day with heavy hearts, and extend our sincere condolences to everyone who has lost a loved one to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Also on Thursday, the Health Department reported 11,608 new coronavirus cases. That is the fourth-highest daily case count since the pandemic began, and it marked the eighth time in the past 10 days that a daily tally has exceeded 10,000 cases. (The record high was before last week was 4,706 in December 2020.)
The rolling seven-day average of new cases declined a bit to 10,762, down 205 from Wednesday’s all-time high. Before last week, the highest that figure had ever been was 3,392, reported in November 2020.
Statewide, hospitals remain near capacity, and the number of currently hospitalized COVID-19 patients — 756 — is the highest it’s been since the pandemic began. Before last week, the highest hospitalization count on a single day was 606 patients in December 2020.
There are nearly as many COVID patients in intensive care units now (207) as there were then (213). But hospital staffing is tighter now than it was in 2020, Utah hospital administrators have said.
ICUs in the state’s larger, “referral” hospitals are now at 92.7% capacity — above the 85% threshold that hospital administrators have said is necessary to leave room for unpredictable staffing levels, new patients and availability of specialized equipment and personnel. Statewide, 89.4% of all ICU beds are filled.
Kids in grades K-12 accounted for 1,974 of the new cases announced Thursday — 17% of the total. There were 747 cases reported in children aged 5-10; 494 cases in children 11-13; and 733 cases in children 14-18.
The number of children getting vaccinated continues to climb: 111,509 children ages 5-11 have received at least one dose since they became eligible. That is 30.6% of kids that age in Utah, according to the health department. And 78,413 of those kids have been fully vaccinated — 21.5% of that age group.
The first coronavirus death in Utah was reported on March 22, 2020. The 1,000th death was reported about 8½ months later, on Dec. 10, 2020.
Over the next three months, 1,000 more deaths were reported — the total topped 2,000 on March 11, 2021. It took seven more months to reach 3,000 deaths, reported on Oct. 12, 2021. And just over three months after that to top 4,000.
Find where to get vaccinated at coronavirus.utah.gov/vaccine-distribution.
Find where to get tested at coronavirus.utah.gov/utah-covid-19-testing-locations.
Breakdown of updated figures
Vaccine doses administered in the past day/total doses administered • 8,180 / 4,738,793.
Number of Utahns fully vaccinated • 1,933,582 — 59.1% of Utah’s total population. That is an increase of 1,564 in the past day.
Cases reported in the past day • 11,608.
Vaccination status • Health officials do not immediately have or release the vaccination status of individuals who test positive, who are hospitalized, or who die. They do calculate the overall risk ratios of these outcomes depending on vaccination status, which is listed below.
Tests reported in the past day • 23,372 people were tested for the first time. A total of 50,241 people were tested.
Deaths reported in the past four days • 22.
Utahns currently hospitalized with COVID-19 • 756. That is 41 more than reported on Wednesday. Of those currently hospitalized, 207 are in intensive care — 17 more than reported on Wednesday.
Percentage of positive tests • Under the state’s original method, the rate is 49.7% in the past day. That is higher than the seven-day average of 42.5%.
The state’s new method counts all test results, including repeated tests of the same individual. Thursday’s rate was 23.1%, lower than the seven-day average of 29.7%.
[Read more: Utah is changing how it measures the rate of positive COVID-19 tests. Here’s what that means.]
Risk ratios • In the past four weeks, unvaccinated Utahns were 12.3 times as likely to die of COVID-19 as vaccinated people were, according to a Utah Department of Health analysis. The unvaccinated also were 5.9 times as likely to be hospitalized, and 2.3 times as likely to test positive for the coronavirus.
Totals to date • 814,388 cases; 4,019 deaths; 29,838 hospitalizations; 4,656,935 people tested.
Salt Lake City’s Main Library has closed to in-person visits and is expected to remain closed for “a minimum of two weeks,” according to a Facebook post.
The closure was prompted by “staffing issues brought on by the sudden and dramatic increase in the spread of COVID-19,” according to the library. “This move also allows us to temporarily reposition staff to our branches,” which will remain open.
Curbside services — including holds pickup, browsing-to-go, and print services — will remain open at the Main Library. Patrons can pick up their items by parking in one of the designated parking spaces on 200 East and calling 801-594-8618.
Digital audiobooks and eBooks will not be affected, and virtual events will continue as scheduled.
This story is developing and will be updated.