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Utah’s latest COVID-19 metrics released Thursday showed a slight decrease in newly documented coronavirus cases since last week, but wastewater sites continue to report high levels of the virus in sewers.
The state on Thursday also reported a child was among 16 newly reported COVID-19 deaths. She was between the ages of 0-14 and from Salt Lake County, officials said.
The Utah Department of Health and Human Services reported 5,866 new coronavirus cases this week, about a thousand fewer than reported last July 21, when the state last released data.
The state also reported that hundreds fewer tests were taken in the last week. Utah saw a 14.7% decrease in its seven-day average case counts, as well as about a 6% decrease in test positivity rates.
Many residents continue to rely on at-home tests, which can make testing figures unreliable. Still, six counties — Tooele, Salt Lake, Summit, Wasatch, Grand and San Juan — each have high COVID-19 community levels, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC recommends people in those counties wear masks and social distance when visiting indoor public spaces.
Last week, after Utah officially surpassed 1 million COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, health officials said the BA.5 omicron subvariant was fueling the ongoing surge.
Compared to last week, hospitalizations stayed largely consistent. DHHS reported 252 patients in the hospital Thursday, 10 more than last week. The seven-day average of new coronavirus patients admitted to a hospital, as well as the average number of people in hospitals, shifted only slightly, state data shows.
As of Thursday, there have been 4,900 COVID-19 deaths in Utah since the start of the pandemic. DHHS declined to provide additional information about the Salt Lake County child’s death reported this week.
Health officials have also been monitoring sewage data, currently a more reliable metric of COVID-19 spread than testing, to track the virus.
The Department of Environmental Quality reported that 31 of its 33 wastewater sites found elevated levels of coronavirus in sewage samples. The other three sites were on “watch” status, meaning COVID-19 levels are concerning but not high enough to be considered elevated.
Ten of those sites reported that levels had increased since the last analysis, while most sites saw levels remain the same. Three sites reported decreasing levels.
Breakdown of updated figures:
Vaccine doses administered in the past week/total doses administered • 16,083 / 5,315,067.
Number of Utahns fully vaccinated • 2,039,057 — 62.7% of Utah’s total population. Another 969,576 Utahns are boosted, or 29.8% of the population.
Cases reported in the past week • 5,866.
Average cases per day reported in the past week • 837.
Deaths reported in the past week • 16.
Salt Lake County reported eight deaths, including a girl age 0-14, a man and woman ages 45-64, a man age 65-84 and three men and a woman all 85 or older.
Five Utah County residents died: a woman age 45-64, a man and woman between the ages of 65-84 and a man and woman age 85 or older.
Weber County reported the death of a woman age 65-84 and a man age 85 or older. Juab County reported the death of a woman age 85 or older.
Hospitalizations reported this week • 274 Utahns were hospitalized in the past week. As of Thursday, a total of 252 remained in the hospital, more than the prior week. There were 44 in intensive care, a slight increase from the 40 reported last week.
Percentage of positive tests • Counting all test results, including repeated tests of the same individual, 26.5% of the tests conducted came back positive, compared to 28.1% at this point last week.
When repeated tests on the same individual are not counted, 34% of the tests administered yielded positive results, a slight dip from last week’s 36.3% figure.
Totals to date • 1,010,292 cases; 4,900 deaths; 37,026 hospitalizations.