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Utah public schools began welcoming students on August 13 and since then health officials have been on the lookout for coronavirus outbreaks.
Since the start of the new school year, the Utah Department of Health has reported seven such outbreaks, which have infected 55 people. There were six hospitalizations, but no deaths. Over the past week, the state has reported five of these outbreaks, in which 27 people have tested positive.
The state defines an outbreak as “two or more cases associated with an environment outside the home within 14 days.” The Department of Health also lists outbreak data for workplaces, hospitals, group living centers, child care centers and detention centers. Workplace outbreaks are by far the most common, with 671 total outbreaks during the pandemic, 4,605 people having tested positive and 14 dying. New data from Salt Lake County shows workers in food manufacturing and call centers were among the most likely to be in the event of an outbreak.
Utah has taken three statistical milestones in the past week. The state crossed the 50,000 case mark on Wednesday. The 448 cases reported on Sunday bring the state’s total to 51,854.
In recent weeks, average cases have shown a downward trend, but not last week. For the seven-day period from August 24 to Sunday, the Department of Health reported 2,490 cases, an average of almost 356 per day. The previous seven-day period recorded 2,221 cases, an average of 317 per day.
Of the 2,490 reported cases, 760 of them, or just over 30%, belong to Utah County. Hospitalizations in the health district during the seven-day period increased by 20, from 480 to 500, while deaths increased by three, from 43 to 46.
Salt Lake County, which has a total of 23,862 cases, 1,549 total hospitalizations since the start of the pandemic and 230 total deaths, had an encouraging week after adding 979 new cases last week, showing a trend on the decline. Salt Lake County remains one of 19 counties in Utah at a “yellow” or low risk level, although Salt Lake City is the only part of the state at an “orange” or risk level. moderate.
Total hospitalizations exceeded 3,000 for the first time last week, standing at 3,080 on Sunday. While cases are on the rise slightly, active hospitalizations drop from 130 to 116 this week.
The state has also passed 400 deaths, although the rate of those deaths appears to be slowing. On Sunday, the state reported a total of 407 deaths, but it was the second day in a row the state did not add to that total. The last time the state reported no deaths two days in a row was in mid-June.
One figure that doesn’t move much is the seven-day average for positive coronavirus tests. As of Sunday, it stood at 9.1%, far more than what public health officials want to see. According to data from covidactnow.org, Utah’s rate is the 17th highest in the country behind 9.4% in Nebraska and ahead of 8.7% in Wisconsin.