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Utah’s sustained surge in coronavirus cases continued on Saturday as health officials reported that hospital admissions had climbed again to record highs and 298 patients were actively cared for due to the virus.
The previous high was recorded on Friday when 290 patients were hospitalized. A total of 4,61
Overall, the state reported that there were 93,297 positive cases of the virus in Utah, up from 1,340 from Friday. There were also three new deaths, bringing the total number of people who have died from the virus to 540. The deaths included:
- A Davis County man who was over 85 years old and was not hospitalized at the time of death
- A Salt Lake County woman older than 85 years living in a long-term care facility
- A Carbon County man aged 65 to 84 who was hospitalized at the time of death
The surge in cases is “unsustainable,” said Governor Gary Herbert in a statement released with Friday’s coronavirus report. And he again called on the Utahns to wear masks, to distance themselves socially and to limit the size of social gatherings.
“If we don’t do these things, we can expect more sobering days,” he said.
Jess Gomez, a spokeswoman for Intermountain Health Care, said Saturday that the hospital is also seeing heavy utilization of its intensive care beds, which treat both COVID patients and many non-COVID patients who are in the ICU in large numbers of conditions. “
“We’re approaching capacity, but we’re not there yet. But it comes very close, “he said.
As hospital stays hit record highs, Gomez said the health care provider urged the community to “stand with us” and do their part to keep hospitals from being overcrowded with patients.
“Now, more than ever, we need people to step up and do whatever they can to reduce transmissions,” he said. “We keep saying the same things, but they are vital and, unfortunately, not widely used.”
If people follow public health guidelines, he said, “We can get this under control.”
At that point, however, Gomez said, “The ramifications will fall on our health community, which is struggling to keep up with people who need hospital care for COVID and other issues.”
The state health department reported that of the 298 people currently in hospital, 96 are in intensive care units. The beds in the intensive care unit in Utah were 75% occupied as of Saturday.
9,142 new test results were reported on Saturday as the nationwide positive rate stayed in the 13% to 14% range, according to state officials, suggesting far more people are sick than those being tested. On Saturday it was 14%.
For the past week, the Utah Department of Health has achieved an average of 1,236 new positive test results per day, setting a series of new record highs.
This story will be updated.