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The Utah Department of Health reported 9,469 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday – a record number for the third day in a row.
The dizzying tally was announced at noon on Friday, around the same time Salt Lake County Health Department executive director Dr Angela Dunn issued a county-wide mask warrant.
The public health order goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday and requires everyone in the county, regardless of their immunization status, to wear well-fitting masks indoors. This also applies to those queuing outside.
The Department of Health also announced changes to the state’s COVID-19 testing sites on Friday in an attempt to meet “growing demand” and minimize wait times, which have spanned hours to certain places.
Friday’s number of cases was up from 8,913 new cases reported Thursday and 7,247 reported Wednesday. Prior to this week, the highest number of new cases reported in a single day was 4,207, announced over a year ago on December 30, 2020.
The seven-day moving average of new positive cases also hit its highest on record for the third day in a row – 5,766. Prior to this week, the highest on record was 3,392 on November 22, 2020.
The health department reported 19 more deaths from COVID-19 on Friday. Five deaths occurred before Dec. 7 and it was only recently that it was determined that they were caused by COVID-19, the health department said. The remainder – 14 deaths – were reported on the last day.
As of Friday, 93.1% of all intensive care beds in Utah and 94.8% of intensive care beds in major medical centers in the state were occupied, the health department reported. (Hospitals consider anything above 85% to be functional.) Of all critical care patients, 39.4% are treated for COVID-19.
The number of children vaccinated continues to increase: 101,047 children aged 5 to 11 have received at least one dose since becoming eligible. That’s 27.7% of children that age in Utah, according to the Department of Health. And 69,032 of those children were fully immunized, or 18.9% of this age group.
Find out where to get vaccinated at coronavirus.utah.gov/vaccine-distribution.
Find where to get tested coronavirus.utah.gov/utah-covid-19-testing-locations.
Changes to the health test site
Starting Saturday, appointments will be required at the following state COVID-19 testing sites: the Cannon Health Building (including travel tests) in Salt Lake City, the Timpanogos Regional Hospital in Orem, the Bountiful test site and the West Jordan test site.
These sites have regularly experienced high demand and long wait times, the health ministry said.
You can make an appointment online at testutah.com.
Starting Saturday, you must also arrive at state test sites at least an hour before they close. Those arriving after the lines have been cut may be offered home test kits, while supplies last. Otherwise, you will be asked to come back the next day.
The one-hour limit does not apply to people who have appointments scheduled within the last hour of a test site’s opening, the health department said.
The health department also announced on Friday that starting Saturday, the state will no longer provide testing for people who need it to report to work or attend events.
Instead, people who need testing for work or events should go to testutah.com and look for a non-state-sponsored testing site, or work with employers and event planners to find other testing options, the health department advised.
The health department has warned that anyone seeking a test should always be prepared to wait between 30 minutes and four hours at various sites. “We ask you to be patient and respectful of each other and our staff,” advised UDOH.
Danielle Rehmann, a resident of Salt Lake City, said she was the fifth person waiting for a PCR test at UDOH headquarters early Friday, but it took more than an hour to get tested. When she reached number one, she said only two people were administering tests at that time.
âThe guy – you could tell he was really stressed out,â she said of the person who administered his test. The worker told her the site was understaffed because some employees had tested positive for COVID-19, she said.
When Rehmann left, she said the test line “filled the entire parking lot and circled the street.”
“I felt horrible for them,” she said of the couple administering the tests.
At sites with more than an hour of wait, home testing will be offered to those in the line, if available, the health department said.
Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 who chooses not to be tested should self-isolate at home and stay away from others for at least five days from the onset of these symptoms, officials said. . If the symptoms persist, you should self-isolate until you have no more symptoms.
Breakdown of updated figures
Vaccine doses administered during the last day / total doses administered â¢ 15,438 / 4,617,504.
Number of Utahns fully vaccinated â¢ 1,913,864 – 58.5% of the total population of Utah. That’s an increase of 2,533 over the last day.
Cases reported in the last day â¢ 9,469.
Cases among school-aged children â¢ Kindergarten to grade 12 children accounted for 1,372 of the new cases announced Friday, or 14.5% of the total. There have been 415 reported cases in children aged 5 to 10 years; 293 cases in children 11-13; and 664 cases in children aged 14-18.
[Read more: Will Utah see a surge of COVID-19 cases in schools?]
Immunization status â¢ Health officials do not immediately have or disclose the immunization status of people who test positive, are hospitalized or have died. They calculate the overall risk ratios of these results based on immunization status, which is listed below.
Tests reported in the last day â¢ 21,523 people were tested for the first time. A total of 40,904 people were tested.
Deaths reported in the last day â¢ 19. (UDOH did not include in its breakdown which deaths occurred before December 7.)
There have been eight deaths in Salt Lake County – three men aged 45 to 64, four men 65 to 84 and one woman 85 or older.
Weber County has reported three deaths – a woman aged 25 to 44, a man aged 45 to 64 and a man aged 65 to 84.
Two residents of Tooele County have died – a woman aged 45 to 64 and a man aged 65 to 84. And Utah County has also reported two deaths – a man and a woman aged 65 to 84.
Four counties each reported a single death – a 25- to 44-year-old man in Carbon County; a 65 to 84 year old man in Davis County; a woman 85 years of age or over in Millard County; and a 45 to 64 year old man in Washington County.
Hospitalizations reported during the last day â¢ 538. This is eight more than what was reported on Thursday. Of those currently hospitalized, 191 are in intensive care – three more than reported Thursday.
Percentage of positive tests â¢ According to the original state method, the rate is 44% in the last day. This is more than the seven-day average of 24.8%.
The state’s new method counts all test results, including repeat testing of the same individual. Friday’s rate was 24.1%, above the seven-day average of 16.8%.
[Read more: Utah is changing how it measures the rate of positive COVID-19 tests. Hereâs what that means.]
Risk ratios â¢ In the past four weeks, unvaccinated Utahns were 17.3 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than those vaccinated, according to an analysis from the Utah Department of Health. The unvaccinated were also 8.3 times more likely to be hospitalized and 2.6 times more likely to test positive for the coronavirus.
Totals to date â¢ 682,036 cases; 3,887 deaths; 28,163 hospitalizations; 4,377,190 people tested.