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For the second day in a row, more than 40,000 COVID-19 vaccines were administered in Utah. And the number of fully vaccinated people exceeds 540,000.
At the same time, the Utah Department of Health reported six more deaths from the coronavirus. All six were patients 65 and older, with four of the deaths occurring before March 1 and only recently confirmed as being related to COVID-19.
Case counts in Utah have stalled at levels not seen since September, Dr. Eddie Stenehjem, an infectious disease physician at Intermountain Healthcare, said Friday. “This is a good place to be right now, in Utah.”
Vaccine dose administered in the previous day / total doses administered • 40,049 / 1,450,263.
Fully vaccinated Utahns • 541,293.
Cases reported the day before • 422.
Deaths reported the day before • Six.
Salt Lake County reported two deaths: a man and a woman, each between the ages of 65 and 84.
Four other counties reported one death each: a woman aged 65 to 84 in Davis County, a woman aged 65 to 84 in Millard County, a woman aged 85 or over in Utah County, and a man aged 85 or over. more in Weber County.
Tests reported the day before • 5,761 people were tested for the first time. A total of 14,258 people were evaluated.
Hospitalizations reported the day before • 138. That’s up to two starting Thursday. Of those currently hospitalized, 46 are in intensive care units, four fewer than on Thursday.
Percentage of positive tests • According to the original state method, the rate is 7.3%. That’s slightly higher than the 7-day average of 6.9%.
The state’s new method counts all test results, including repeated tests on the same individual. Friday’s rate was 3.0%, lower than the seven-day average of 3.4%.
[Read more: Utah is changing how it measures the rate of positive COVID-19 tests. Here’s what that means.]
Totals to date • 386,550 cases; 2,131 deaths; 15,573 hospitalizations; 2,400,410 people tested.
“This is a time to be optimistic,” Stenehjem said. “Our cases are going down. They have stalled … going back to the level we had at the beginning of the pandemic, around September. Our hospitalization numbers have certainly improved. “
Health experts are concerned, Stenehjem said Friday during Intermountain’s weekly COVID-19 community briefing on Facebook Live, that spring break, and new variants of the coronavirus, could cause a “fourth wave” of cases. . Still, “at this point, an increase in cases may look different than an increase in November and December,” Stenehjem said, because fewer older people are likely to get sick because they have been vaccinated against the virus.
Utah is one week away from April 10, the date Utah’s political leaders set to end the statewide mask mandate, but Stenehjem recommended Utahns continue to wear their masks and practice social distancing in public.
“There will be no difference in community broadcasting between April 9 and April 10,” Stenehjem said.
Intermountain’s rules require that visitors, patients and staff wear masks, and those rules will remain in effect after April 10, Stenehjem said. “We will remove our masks when epidemiology tells us it is okay to do so,” he said.
Although Governor Cox signed the bill passed by the Utah Legislature ending the masks mandate on April 10, he still believes masks are a good idea. In a memo this week, Cox told state employees that they will wear masks at their state offices until May 31.
Also Friday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that it will provide Utah with more than $ 17.1 million in additional public assistance funding for the state’s response to COVID-19. The funding was made available after a major disaster declaration issued Sunday.
So far, FEMA has provided Utah with a total of $ 108.5 million in assistance for the state’s response to COVID-19. Information on FEMA’s public assistance program is available at www.fema.gov/assistance/public.