With new coronavirus cases plateauing and COVID vaccinations available to all Utahns 16 and older, Intermountain Healthcare infectious diseases physician Dr. Eddie Stenehjem told a virtual news gathering Friday he is hopeful but cautious for the state’s outlook.
“Hospitalizations are down and stable,” Dr. Stenehjem said. “I don’t want to read too much into a slight increase here, a slight decrease there. Things are stable. We’re in a spot where we don’t have loads of people in our hospitals, that pressure has been taken off, and now we’re in this phase where, yes, the cases are still here. We have 400, 500, 600 a day, but they are at a stable rate.”
He said now there is a need to talk to people who are not yet vaccinated about how important it is that a large majority of Utahns receive the vaccine for the public health of the state.
“We need to have frank conversations with them — non-emotional conversations — we need to know why they are hesitant and what information we can provide,” he added. “We would listen to them and we may not convince them the first time we talk to them, but we continue to have these conversations about the importance of the vaccine.”
Friday, the state health department reported 344 new coronavirus cases and the death of one Utahn, a Utah County resident between 65-84 who was living in a long-term care facility at the time of his death. Utah’s COVID death toll has reached 2,179 in the 13 months of the pandemic.
From the start of the pandemic there have been 394,678 positive coronavirus cases in Utah.
The state health department said 29,519 more vaccines were administered since Thursday and vaccinations in Utah now total over two million.
About 2.5 million Utahns have been tested as of Friday and there have been over 4.56 million total tests administered in the state. Since Thursday, 4,580 people were tested for the first time and a total of 15,833 tests were administered.
Utah’s COVID-19 hospitalizations have grown to 140, up three from Thursday. Since the outbreak 16,033 people have been hospitalized with the virus.
Idaho’s latest numbers show 185,993 confirmed coronavirus cases and 2,028 COVID-19 deaths. In the three southeast Idaho counties case counts include 1,169 positive cases in Franklin County, 376 in Bear Lake County and 353 in Oneida County.