SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Department of Health reports five more people died as the result of coronavirus in the state, bringing the total number of COVID-19 deaths in Utah to 13.
Coronavirus deaths in Utah
Of the five people who died, state officials said four represent patients at long-term care facilities in either Salt Lake or Utah Counties. The affected facility in Utah County will now be the focus of an investigation. In Salt Lake County, the facility in question will be converted to a COVID-19-only facility. Health officials described all four long-term care facility residents as over the age of 60, with significant underlying health concerns.
The final patient who died, someone with underlying health conditions, was under the age of 60 at a hospital; the health department could not offer additional details about his underlying health or specifics about his age.
All five patients died Saturday.
Two of the deaths happened in the same long-term care facility where another person had reportedly died from the virus. Utah Department of Health Epidemiologist Angela Dunn says they’re investigating what happened at this center, since the virus seemed to spread dramatically, there.
Dunn says, “As part of this outbreak, we identified 23 residents of the long-term care facility that were positive for COVID-19, and two staff [members.]” She adds, “The other two deaths were in a long-term care facility in Utah County, and we’re working with Utah County to do a full investigation of this outbreak.”
Testing ramps up
State officials say clinics and hospitals tested more than 33,000 people so far for coronavirus in Utah, with testing ramping up in recent days.
1,675 Utahns tested positive for coronavirus since state health officials started releasing numbers of confirmed cases. Those numbers only include cases confirmed by lab testing. That’s only an increase from 70 from the day before.
Dunn encouraged Utahns not to focus on the numbers but to look instead at trends.
She says, “The low number reported yesterday is likely a reflection of low testing over the weekend.”
Dunn said the decision on when to lift restrictions, such as Gov. Gary Herbert’s “Stay Safe. Stay Home” directive, could potentially change those trends dramatically. If the restrictions are lifted too soon, she cautioned, Utah’s case counts could surge again.
According to the latest data released by the health department, about nine percent of the confirmed cases of coronavirus required hospitalization. The numbers also show more Utahns under the age of 64 tested positive than over the age of 64. People aged 25 – 44 represented the largest number of cases in the state with 675, with the 45 – 64 age group coming in second with 514 cases.
Salt Lake County hosts the largest number of coronavirus cases in the state to date with 777.
How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus
COVID-19 coronavirus is transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:
- Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
- Don’t touch your face.
- Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
- If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
- Get a flu shot.
State of Utah: https://coronavirus.utah.gov/
Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707