Health officials report 11 COVID-19 deaths, 425 new cases as CDC eases mask guidance - freetxp

Health officials report 11 COVID-19 deaths, 425 new cases as CDC eases mask guidance

Jennifer Okutani of Bountiful receives her booster shot from Addy Aven at the drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Legacy Events Center in Farmington on Jan. 19. The Utah Department of Health reported 11 COVID-19 deaths and 425 cases on Friday. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah health officials reported 11 COVID-19 deaths on Friday, along with 425 new cases of the disease.

The rolling, seven-day average for new positive tests is now 559 per day, according to the Utah Department of Health, which continues to decrease from a high of 10,967 on Jan. 19. The rolling, seven-day average for people testing positive for COVID-19 is currently 18.4%, down from a high of 46.7% almost a month ago on Jan. 27.

The health department reported another 3,539 people who were tested for the novel coronavirus and 5,165 who were vaccinated against it.

On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new metrics to determine if masks should be worn indoors. The metrics, which create a “COVID-19 community level” take into account new COVID-19 hospitalizations, hospital capacity and new COVID-19 cases.

New CDC guidelines in Utah

Under these new CDC guidelines, San Juan County and Tooele County currently have high COVID-19 community levels and the agency suggests wearing a mask indoors when in public.

Salt Lake County and many others in the state have a medium COVID-19 community level, in which the CDC currently suggests wearing masks for people who are immunocompromised, at high risk, or if have contact with someone who is high risk.

Utah, Emery, Juab, Millard, Sevier and Wayne counties each have low community levels. In these locations, the CDC does not suggest wearing a mask but says people can choose to based on personal preference and risk level.

Although these are general guidelines, the CDC said individuals can always choose to wear a mask, and that people who have symptoms, have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been exposed should wear a mask regardless of the COVID-19 community level. The CDC also encourages people in all COVID-19 community levels to get vaccinated against the disease and be tested if they have symptoms.

Previous guidelines considered levels of transmission, which recommended that masks be worn in most of the country.

More Utah data

Currently, 372 people are hospitalized in Utah with COVID-19, according to the health department; 101 of the patients are in an intensive care unit. About 60% of all hospital beds are currently in use, including almost 75% of intensive care unit beds and almost 79% of ICU referral center beds.

Throughout the pandemic, Utah has seen a total of 33,126 hospitalizations due to COVID-19, almost 14,000 of which were among Salt Lake County residents and just over 5,000 were Utah county residents, health department data shows.

School children account for 55 of Friday’s new cases. Of those cases, 28 were children between ages 5 and 10, nine were ages 11-13, and 18 were ages 14-17.

Utah has had a total of 4,408 COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic reached Utah in March 2020. Of the 11 deaths reported on Friday, one occurred more than a month ago.

The latest deaths include:

  • A Salt Lake County man, between the ages of 45 and 64, who was not hospitalized when he died
  • A Davis County man, over 85, not hospitalized
  • A Box Elder County woman, over 85, long-term care facility resident
  • A Utah County man, 65-84, not hospitalized
  • A Davis County woman, 65-84, hospitalized
  • A Utah County man, 65-84, hospitalized
  • A Salt Lake County woman, 25-44, hospitalized
  • A Salt Lake County man, 25-44, not hospitalized
  • A Weber County man, 65-84, hospitalized
  • A Sanpete County man, 45-64, hospitalized
  • A Utah County man, 65-84, hospitalized

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