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Health officials estimate 30% of COVID-19 cases in Utah are omicron

Dec 22, 2021, 3:52 PM | Updated: 3:52 pm
Omicron variant Photo: Canva...
Omicron variant Photo: Canva

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah health officials say that 30% of COVID-19 cases in Utah now may be the omicron variant of COVID-19.

The information came from the daily COVID-19 update provided by the Utah Department of Health (UDOH).

Omicron enters Utah and spreads

“Omicron is quickly spreading across the U.S.,” wrote UDOH in an email sent Wednesday. “While our public dashboard only shows seven confirmed cases of omicron, it’s very likely that we have far more cases of omicron in the state based on what we know about this variant right now.”

Utah health officials say their estimate is based on the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests conducted at Intermountain Healthcare using a diagnostic kit that can detect omicron. The variant is detected if the kit registers an S gene target failure or SGTF.

According to UDOH, an SGTF signals a possible omicron case during the PCR test.

“On December 20th, among 813 positive tests in Utah, 175 were conducted at Intermountain Healthcare using the Thermo Fisher TaqPath platform,” UDOH reported. “Of these tests, 34 percent demonstrated SGTF.”

Daily update included 1,406 new cases

On Wednesday, Utah health officials reported  1,406 new cases of COVID-19 in Utah. To date, the total number of cases reported by health officials is 622,414.

In addition, they reported 457 Utahns required hospitalization Wednesday for COVID-19. Another 11 Utahns died as the result of coronavirus. In total, 3,749 Utahns have died from COVID-19 since the beginning of the global pandemic in March 2020.

COVID-19 and school-age children

Utah health officials said of the 1,406 new cases, 167  occurred among school-age children. Broken down, there were 72 new cases among children ages 5 – 10, 44 new cases among children ages 11 – 13 and 51 new cases among teens ages 14 – 17. 

Vaccines and risk assessment 

Some 16,694  more Utahns received the COVID-19 vaccine according to the latest UDOH numbers. To date, health officials in the state have administered 4,465,357 vaccine doses. 

According to the Health Department, for the last 28 days, the risk of coming down with COVID-19 is 3.7 times greater for unvaccinated Utahns. For hospitalization, the risk to the unvaccinated is 9.6 times greater than that of vaccinated Utahns. Also, health officials report unvaccinated Utahns face a 16.4 times greater risk of death than vaccinated Utahns. 

Rolling averages and trends 

According to UDOH, the rolling 7-day average for positive COVID-19 tests in Utah is 981 per day. 

Health officials report an increase of 10,444 Utahns tested for COVID-19 since the day before and an increase of 20,001 tests performed. 

That means the rolling 7-day average of people testing positive in Utah is 11.6%, and the rolling 7-day average of total positive test results is 8%. 


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.
  • Wear a mask to protect yourself and others per CDC recommendations.
  • 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).
  • Obtain a flu shot.
  • Seek out the COVID-19 vaccine.

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

 

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Health officials estimate 30% of COVID-19 cases in Utah are omicron