Fifth Summit County resident dies of COVID-19
Another Summit County resident has died of COVID-19, the Utah Department of Health announced Friday, the fifth death since the pandemic began this spring and the fourth this month alone.
The man was between the ages of 65 and 84 and was hospitalized at the time of his death. No other information was released. He is one of 849 Utahns who have succumbed to the coronavirus to date.
Officials reported an increase of 6,142 new cases Thursday and Friday, with a rolling average of 2,746 new cases recorded daily.
Health care officials have for weeks expressed alarm at rapidly filling hospitals. Intermountain Healthcare announced on Nov. 19 that it might be forced to delay elective surgeries that require recovery in a hospital setting because of the spiking number of cases of COVID-19.
Earlier this month, Gov. Gary Herbert implemented a statewide mask mandate and restrictions on gathering sizes in an effort to slow the spread of the disease.
The data shows that there has been a sharp downward trend in recent days in the rolling 7-day average of new cases from a high of 3,361 on Nov. 22.
Before that improvement, that marker had set near daily records since the middle of September.
Officials have repeatedly warned that hospitalizations lag two weeks or more behind new case diagnoses.
Statewide, 88% of intensive care unit beds are in use and nearly 40% of them are occupied by patients with COVID-19. There has been no similar decline in intensive care utilization to accompany the drop in new cases over the last week, and officials fear another possible spike stemming from families gathering for the holidays.
Health care officials report the functional capacity of the hospital systems’ intensive care units is when 85% of the beds are full. Once that number has been hit, officials have said, there aren’t enough staff members to ensure that the same level of care is given to every patient.
Intensive care utilization has been near or above 85% since Nov. 11.
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