People in a long line of cars are waiting to be tested for COVID-19 outside the Utah Department of Health in Salt Lake City on Monday. Utah reported a surprising 3,303 new cases on Wednesday – the highest number of single days in nearly a year. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)
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SALT LAKE CITY – Utah experienced its highest number of new daily COVID-19 cases in nearly a year with 3,303 reported Wednesday.
During the last week of 2020 and the first week of 2021, the state saw cases skyrocket over 4,500. But the last time cases rose above 3,000 in a single day was January 5th.
“This large number is likely the result of a combination of the omicron variant and holiday events,” Utah Department of Health officials said in a statement.
On Tuesday, the number of new cases was 1,816.
“These cases affect all Utah residents. We need the help of all Utahs to minimize the outbreaks of this virus in our communities. If you feel sick, stay home and get tested. If you attend a large indoor gathering, we recommend that you wear a mask to protect yourself and those around you, “added officials.
The rolling seven-day average for new cases is now 1,571 a day, and the average positive rate of those tested is 12%, the Utah Department of Health said. It is a jump from the previous Wednesday, December 22, when the rolling average was 981. Last week was the first time in several months that the number had dropped to below 1,000.
Just under 1,500 – just over 45% – of cases on Wednesday were “breakthroughs”, meaning people who had been fully vaccinated more than two weeks before tested positive for the disease. Two breakthrough deaths were also reported. That brings the total breakthrough case since vaccines became available to 61,848, and the breakthrough deaths are now a total of 349.
“Yes, we’re starting to see more breakthrough cases. The percentage of cases of breakthrough infections increased about 6% last week compared to the week before,” said Keegan McCaffrey, an epidemiologist at the Utah Department of Health.
“While we are still learning a lot about omicron, further breakthroughs are expected when omicron spreads in Utah because this variant is better at avoiding immunity from both vaccine and previous infection,” he added.
He said the state is also seeing an increase in reinfections. But vaccines still offer “strong protection” against serious disease caused by coronavirus, according to McCaffrey, who pointed to statistics on unvaccinated versus vaccinated residents in the state.
In the last 28 days, unvaccinated Utahs were 10 times more likely to be hospitalized and 17 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than people who are fully vaccinated, he noted.
“Having a booster has been shown to provide even better protection against COVID-19 infection and serious illness. Given the recent rise in cases and what we know about omicron, it’s important that Utahns take the following actions to protect himself and the people around them, “McCaffrey said.
He reiterated the Ministry of Health’s current guidance, urging residents to be vaccinated and / or booster shots, wear masks in public, stay home and be tested if they feel sick, and avoid crowded and poorly ventilated areas.
Vaccine appointments can be scheduled at coronavirus.utah.gov/vaccine-distribution/.
Across the state, 442 patients are currently hospitalized with coronavirus – a decrease of 11 compared to the previous Wednesday.
The state reported that 15,338 people were tested for coronavirus since Tuesday, and 27,774 total tests were administered across the state.
Health professionals administered 12,077 additional vaccine doses since the previous day’s report, bringing the total doses given in Utah to 4,526,915. It includes booster shots.
School-age children accounted for 333 of the new cases on Wednesday – 120 cases were aged 5-10, 59 cases were 11-13, and 154 cases were 14-17.
Recent deaths include:
- A Salt Lake County woman between the ages of 65 and 84, who was a long-term resident when she died.
- A Salt Lake County man, 65-84 years old, hospitalized.
- A man from Tooele County, 45-64, unknown about hospitalization.
- A woman from Tooele County, 65-84, hospitalized.
- A woman in Utah County, 65-84, hospitalized.
- A woman in Utah County, 65-84, unknown about hospitalization.
- A Weber County man, over 85, hospitalized.
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