CACHE COUNTY – A coronavirus spike erupted here in the Bear River Health District overnight.
Local health officials reported 191 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, nearly double the 97 cases reported a day earlier. Of that number, 37 new cases were in Box Elder County, 153 were in Cache County and 1 was reported in Rich County.
On a positive note, the Bear River Health Department reported that no deaths had occurred in its three-county area of responsibility in the past 24 hours.
The same could not be said for Utah in general, with state officials reporting that six patients succumbed to the disease along the Wasatch Front since Tuesday.
That announcement marks 678 coronavirus deaths since the outbreak began in mid-March.
All of these most recent fatalities were elderly and either hospitalized or in long-term care facilities.
Recent changes in nationwide pandemic statistics now refute the often-repeated assertion by Gov. Gary Herbert and Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox that Utah has one of the lowest COVID-19 mortality rate in the nation.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control, five states now have lower COVID-19 mortality rates than Utah. They are Oregon (with 17 deaths per 100,000 people); Hawaii (15 deaths per capita); Alaska (12 deaths per capita); Maine (11 deaths per capita); and Vermont (9 deaths per capita).
As of Wednesday, Utah’s coronavirus mortality rate was 21 deaths per 100,000 people.
Officials of the Utah Department of Health said that five of the newly deceased Utah patients were in the 65 to 84 age group, while the sixth was 85 or older. Four of them were residents of Salt Lake County; the other two resided in Davis and Utah counties.
State officials confirmed that the 2,335 new cases of COVID-19 reported Wednesday brings the total number of Utahns infected with the coronavirus to nearly 140,000. Utah’s rolling seven-day average of positive tests was 2,584 on Wednesday, up slightly from 2,554 the previous day.
Despite earlier concerns about hospital overcrowding expressed by Herbert and state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn, there has been no dramatic increase in statewide coronavirus hospitalizations in recent days. The number of people now undergoing hospital treatment for COVID-19 stands at 446, up only slightly from a count of 435 on Tuesday.
More than 1.19 million Utahns have now been tested for the coronavirus and the state’s rolling seven-day average for positive laboratory tests is 22.6 percent.
The most recent Idaho data indicates there are 75,428 confirmed COVID-19 cases so far in the state, up by 1,201 new cases overnight. Since the beginning of the pandemic in mid-March, 437 residents have tested positive for the coronavirus in Franklin County, 115 in Bear Lake County and 86 in Oneida County. There have been 714 COVID-19 deaths in Idaho, an increase of 16 fatalities overnight.