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Nearly 30% of COVID tests come back positive, testing down over weekend

Despite a lower number of coronavirus cases reported over the holiday weekend, health officials say nearly 30% of tests came back positive. (PHOTO: Utah Department of Health building in Salt Lake City, Paul Nelson KSL Newsradio)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — State health officials say nearly 30% of all new COVID-19 tests came back positive since Saturday. This coming after less than 800 new cases of coronavirus were been reported in Utah in the last day.

Positive cases falling, although testing is also down

796 new cases have been confirmed since the last update on Saturday, according to officials with the Utah Department of Health. That’s among the lowest number of cases in weeks, although it comes with a major caveat.

Officials say only 2,663 people received a COVID test since Saturday, which means the rate of positive COVID cases falls just under 30%.

Additionally, health officials reported the rolling seven-day average for positive COVID tests dropped to 1,980 per day. It’s the first time the seven-day average has dipped below 2,000 since November 5.  

Preparing for a possible spike

Intermountain Healthcare officials said Sunday that their system is preparing for a possible spike in hospitalizations after the holidays. Concerned that more holiday gatherings could lead to a surge in case counts.

“Experts remind people that symptoms of COVID-19 and the need for hospitalization don’t normally happen until one to three weeks after the initial exposure. Due to the incubation period, people who may have been exposed should receive a test five to seven days after an exposure to ensure accuracy. An infected person can test negative if they receive a test too soon after exposure,” Intermountain said.

Right now, 474 patients are hospitalized with COVID-19 in the state, which is seven fewer than were hospitalized on Saturday. The state’s intensive care units are 80.1% full between coronavirus patients and others.

Two more COVID-19 related deaths were reported Sunday, which brings the state’s overall toll to 1,214. The most recent deaths were two Salt Lake County women, one of whom was between 45 and 64, and one who was between 65 and 84. Both individuals were hospitalized when they passed away.