State death toll includes two Box Elder residents

SALT LAKE CITY – State officials have reported that two Box Elder County residents died from COVID-19 complications overnight.

Both pandemic victims were female. One was a resident of a long-term care facility in the 45- to 64-year age group. The other, who was older than 85, was not hospitalized at the time of her death.

Those grim details were among the few items of reliable information that Utah officials could provide today after a Friday the 13th jinx stuck computers at the Department of Health.

“We are experiencing significant technical difficulties with the data system we use to run our daily case counts and test data,” said Tom Hudachko, director of communications for the Health Department.

Because of that glitch, state officials could only provide “incomplete and artificially low” numbers that were available prior to the system malfunctioning Friday morning.

But Hudachko said data about hospitalizations and deaths were not affected by the technical problem.

While Gov. Gary Herbert has said that Utah medical facilities are on the brink of being overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients, the number of Utahns hospitalized for treatment of the disease remained relatively stable at 473, up only slightly from 468 on Thursday.

But state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn stressed Thursday that the state’s referral hospitals and intensive care units were already operating at 85.7 percent of their capacity.

The only other reliable data that state officials could provide on Friday was that 14 Utahns had succumbed to COVID-19 overnight, bringing the state’s coronavirus death toll to 701 victims.

Officials of the Utah Department of Health said that 10 of the 14 newly deceased Utah patients were hospitalized or under long-term care, while the remaining four victims were not hospitalized.

Of the new fatalities, seven of them were in the 65 to 84 age group, two were 85 or older, three were between 45 and 64 years of age and the remaining two were in the 25 to 44 age group.

Six of those fatalities were reported in Salt Lake County, two in Morgan County, two in Box Elder County and one each in Davis, Utah, Washington and Weber counties.

According to the admittedly incomplete data now available to state officials, Utah saw an increase of only 2,150 COVID-19 cases Friday, for a statewide total of more than 145,000 cases since the outbreak began in mid-March. Given that Thursday’s new case count was nearly 4,000, state officials acknowledge that Friday’s count is likely “artificially low” due to the computer glitch.

State experts are equally dubious about their best estimates of a rolling seven-day average of new cases of 2,616 (down from 2,738 on Thursday); of 12,157 new COVID-19 tests administered (down from nearly 14,000 on Thursday); and a rolling seven-day average of positive lab tests that is practically unchanged at 23.5 percent.

Here in the Bear River Health District, incidents of coronavirus infection climbed by 252 cases overnight, up from 208 on Thursday. BRHD officials reported 70 new cases in Box Elder County, 180 in Cache County and 2 in Rich County.

The most recent Idaho data indicates there are more than 78,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases so far in the state, up by 1,158 new cases overnight. Since the beginning of the pandemic in mid-March, 446 residents have tested positive for the coronavirus in Franklin County, 123 in Bear Lake County and 90 in Oneida County. There have been 749 COVID-19 deaths in Idaho, an increase of 16 fatalities overnight.

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1 Comment

  • Dean November 14, 2020 at 5:49 am Reply

    I wonder if they are using hardware and software from the same company, Dominion, that Texas officials rejected using in 2019 for their elections?

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