Update: Utah now has 257 confirmed cases of COVID-19; 1 death due to virus

This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Photo by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/UPI

UTAH, March 23, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — Utah has a total of 257 confirmed cases of COVID-19, as well as one death, health officials said Monday.

State Epidemiologist from the Utah Department of Health Dr. Angela Dunn said in a press briefing those 257 cases span nine local health districts, which means four districts are not reporting cases thus far.

A total of 5,048 Utahns have been tested for the virus up to this point, Dunn said.

“We have identified some specific age groups that are more at risk for COVID-19,” Dunn said. “Those 25 to all the way over 65 all have the same rates of COVID-19. So this is telling us that all adults are susceptible to COVID-19, however, we do know that those over the age of 65 are more likely to be hospitalized. And we still hold at about 10 percent of cases being hospitalized.

“So it’s really important for those ages 25 to 44, though you might have mild illness, and be able to recover on your own at home, it’s very important that you do self-isolate until your symptoms have resolved, to protect those who are older or more vulnerable to severe disease.”

Dunn said that it is important to practice social distancing and avoid large gatherings even though it might disrupt some of our usual traditions.

“We’re in this for the long haul,” Dunn said. “These social distancing measures are going to have to be a way of life for Utahns and for the U.S. for the next several months, and so we need to start adjusting to that, and find different ways to greet our loved ones when they’ve been gone for a while.”

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She added that health authorities with the University of Utah along with ARUP have increased their capacity and can test as many as 1,500 people per day, and there are plans to expand that capacity to 3,000 tests per day by the end of this week. “Currently we do not have a large backlog of tests in Utah,” Dunn said.

She added: “We are continuing to see an increase in cases daily here in Utah; we haven’t seen that exponential growth, thankfully, and we just work daily to ensure that we’re limiting the maximum number of cases that we possibly can in Utah and we hope that over time we will see those measures come into play and we’ll see the flattening of the curve.”

According to a statements by the Utah Department of Health and Mountainstar HCA the one known fatality was a male patient, over age 60, from Bountiful who was being treated at Lakeview Hospital in Davis County.

“He had underlying medical conditions, and was hospitalized for two days prior to his death,” the statement said.

Updated numbers can be viewed on a new dashboard at coronavirus.utah.gov/case-counts

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