Utah reports record-high hospitalization rate from COVID-19 cases

Oct 16, 2020, 2:12 PM | Updated: 2:13 pm
Utah hospitalization rate...
Photo of the temporary hospital at the South Towne Expo Center as it was when they set it up in April in case hospitals go overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah reported a record-high hospitalization rate from coronavirus cases Friday with 290 people currently admitted, according to the Utah Department of Health. This surpasses the state’s previous record of 259 concurrent hospitalizations. 

The health department said 14 additional hospitalizations are still under investigation before being reported as COVID-19 cases, 96 of these hospitalizations are in the ICU, with 75% of all ICU beds statewide occupied by a COVID-19 patient. 

UDOH COVID-19 hospitalization data

In total, 4,559 Utahns have been hospitalized with the coronavirus since the pandemic began. 

This sharp increase comes as health officials urge Utahns to take the virus seriously — noting the decreasing capacity in hospitals throughout the state. Gov. Gary Herbert urged the state to adhere to the new state color-coded restrictions, adding the recent spike in cases was “unsustainable.”

“Utahns must wear a mask around others, socially distance, and limit social gathering sizes,” Gov. Herbert said in a statement. “Unless we do these things, we can expect to see more sobering days like today. This is vital to ensure our healthcare system is not overwhelmed treating patients who contract COVID-19.”

This comes just one day after the updated state regulations took effect, redefining color-coded restrictions

“If we cannot get this spike under control, and based on today’s data, we expect four more counties to automatically be designated as high transmission areas next week as part of our newly revised and updated transmission index,” the governor said. “High transmission areas have more strict public health requirements than moderate and low areas.”

Health officials, along with the state, say it’s ready to open a temporary hospital to treat COVID-19 patients if established facilities become too overwhelmed. However, they’re hoping they won’t have to use it. 

Utah reported an increase of 1,496 confirmed COVID cases Friday with eight new deaths. The rolling 7-day average for testing positive sits at 13.9%. 

The health department also reports 68,092 recovered cases, meaning the initial diagnosis date was over three weeks ago and the patient did not pass away. 

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Utah reports record-high hospitalization rate from COVID-19 cases