COVID-19: VACCINE WATCH

15 new deaths reported due to COVID-19 in Utah, but not all recent

Oct 2, 2020, 1:13 PM | Updated: 5:11 pm
new system COVID-19 utah deaths, Utah COVID-19 cases climb high with 2987 new cases and 17 deaths...
FILE: A COVID-19 test being given at Glendale Middle School in Salt Lake City. Credit: Spenser Heaps, Deseret News, September 15, 2020

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah health officials reported 15 new deaths due to COVID-19 on Friday, but said a significant number of those were not recent deaths. 

The state recorded 1,107 new positive cases of COVID-19 Friday, for a total of 75,157 since the beginning of the outbreak. The rolling 7-day average for percent of positive laboratory tests remains high at 13.7%. 

COVID-19 deaths in Utah

Of the deaths, the Utah Department of Health says most of them are recent, and the remaining six were spread out between September, August and July. 

“The majority of these cases happened within the last week.  Many of them [happened] in the last three days,” said to Dr. Erik Christensen, Chief Medical Examiner for the state of Utah.

The uptick in recent deaths isn’t a surprise to Christensen, considering the spike in new daily COVID-19 cases.  However, he says every one of those deaths was avoidable, and none of those patients would have died when they did without the virus.

“Our office has seen a notable increase in the number of COVID-related death investigations we have conducted in the past several days,” he said. “While we would expect this increase given the current surge in case counts it does not make these deaths any less tragic.” 

He continued:

Everyday at the Office of the Medical Examiner there are harsh reminders of the seriousness of this disease. I see first-hand the devastating impacts it has on those who are left behind. Let me be clear, these deaths are preventable. None of the individuals who we determine to have died from COVID-19 would have suffered this fate at the time they did had they not been infected with COVID-19.

I implore everyone to help stop the spread of COVID-19 by wearing masks, maintaining physical distancing when you can, and if you are sick please stay away from others – especially those who are at a higher risk for severe illness.

According to a release from the health department, most of the time deaths reported in the daily COVID-19 count do not represent deaths in the previous 24 hours.  Christensen says his office is straining to keep up with the recent case load, and all of the patients require full autopsies, which take a significant amount of time.  Case investigators have to look through medical records to see if a patient had any other health problems, and doctors have to take a close look at every organ to see if the virus led to its failure.

“The deaths we report on a daily basis often occur several days, or even weeks, prior to our reporting them publicly,” the department said. “This is due to the time it takes for deaths to be reported by hospitals, long-term care facilities, or funeral homes to the Office of the Medical Examiner (OME), and for the OME to conduct its death investigation.” 

The recent deaths don’t account for the largest number we’ve seen in the state since the pandemic began.  However, Christensen has serious concerns about future numbers if people don’t wear masks when the travel across the state.

“The largest number of deaths being reported happened back in July.  That tapered off quite a lot through August, but I have concern that we could get back to those numbers,” Christensen said.

The 15 deaths involved patients ranging in ages from 25 to over 85, from various parts of the state.  

Utah hospitals reported 190 patients currently treated for COVID-19. 

State officials consider 56,167 of Utah’s COVID-19 cases to be “recovered,” meaning diagnosis was more than three weeks ago and the patient did not die. 


How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus spreads person to person, similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
  • Get a flu shot.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A 

Utah’s Coronavirus Information 

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States

Today’s Top Stories

COVID-19: Vaccine Watch

A sign reading "immunizations" hangs over a desk. COVID-19 vaccines Utah...
Samantha Herrera

Where to find a COVID-19 vaccine provider for children 5 and under in Utah

COVID-19 vaccines are now available for children as young as 6 months old, but where can you find a vaccine provider for your child in Utah?
9 days ago
A child is comforted after getting his COVID-19 vaccine....
Samantha Herrera

More COVID-19 vaccines ordered in Utah for children as young as 6 months

32,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines for children 6 months and older have been ordered by the Utah Department of Health and Human Services.
10 days ago
This combination of 2022 and 2020 file  photos shows logos for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control...
LAURAN NEERGAARD AP Medical Writer

Marathon US hearings to decide fate of COVID shots for tots

On Wednesday, both Moderna and Pfizer will argue their case. Each company aims to offer a different dose and number of shots.
22 days ago
FILE - A vial of the Phase 3 Novavax coronavirus vaccine is seen ready for use in the trial at St. ...
LOLITA C. BALDOR Associated Press

New vaccine may be option for troops with religious concerns

At least 175 active duty and reserve service members have received the Novavax vaccine. Some have traveled overseas at their own expense to get it.
23 days ago
utah student achievement COVID-19...
Simone Seikaly

Utah student performance knocked down during COVID-19 restrictions

A review of multiple Utah student performance exams found "significant impacts" in mathematics achievement across grades.
1 month ago
COVID-19 vaccine...
KEVIN McGILL

Opponents of federal vaccine mandate seek rehearing

Mr. Biden issued an order Sept. 9 that more than 3.5 million federal executive branch workers undergo vaccination, with no option to get regularly tested.
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
15 new deaths reported due to COVID-19 in Utah, but not all recent