Editor’s note: The Salt Lake Tribune provides free access to critical stories of coronavirus. sign up our Top Stories newsletter, sent to your inbox every weekday morning. To support journalism like this, thank you donate or become one subscriber.
Utah’s sustained rise in coronavirus cases continued Saturday as health officials reported that admissions from the virus had risen again to record highs, with 298 patients receiving active care.
The previous peak was recorded on Friday when 290 patients were admitted. In all, 4,61
In all, the state reported that there have been 93,297 positive cases of the virus in Utah, an increase of 1,340 from Friday. There have also been three new deaths, bringing the total number of people killed by the virus to 540. The deaths included:
- A Davis County man over the age of 85 who was not hospitalized at the time of death
- A Salt Lake County woman over the age of 85 living in a nursing home
- A man from Carbon County between the ages of 65 and 84 who was hospitalized at the time of death
The lead in the cases is “unsustainable,” Gary Herbert said in a statement released with Friday’s coronavirus report. And he again urged Utahns to wear masks, social distance and limit the size of social gatherings.
“Unless we do these things, we can expect to see more thoughtful days,” he said.
Jess Gomez, a spokeswoman for Intermountain Health Care, said on Saturday that the hospital also sees high utilization of its beds in the intensive care unit, which treats “both COVID patients as well as many non-COVID patients who are in intensive care for various conditions. ”
“We are approaching capacity, but we are just not there yet. But it is approaching a lot, ”he said.
As hospital admissions reach record highs, Gomez said the health care provider is asking communities to “stand with us” and do their part to prevent hospitals from becoming overcrowded with patients.
“Now more than ever, we really need people to step up and do everything they can to reduce transmissions,” he said. “We continue to say the same things, but they are critically important, and unfortunately they are not used universally.”
If people follow the public health guidelines, he said, “we can get it.”
But at this point, Gomez said “the consequences are falling on our healthcare system, which is struggling to keep up with the people who need hospital treatment for COVID and other problems.”
The state health department reported that 96 of the 298 people currently hospitalized are confirmed using beds for the intensive care unit. Utah’s ICU beds were 75% occupied from Saturday.
9,142 new test results were reported on Saturday as the state-positive rate remained in the range of 13% to 14%, as government officials say indicates there are far more sick people than those being tested. On Saturday it was 14%.
Over the past week, the Utah Department of Health has amassed 1,236 new positive test results per day on average and continues a series of new record highs.
This story will be updated.