Nearly 6,000 Utah health care workers have tested positive, 4 have died with COVID-19 during pandemic

SALT LAKE CITY — Nearly 6,000 workers in Utah’s health care industry have been infected by COVID-19 and four have died of the disease during the pandemic.

a hand holding a toothbrush: Sven Karabegovic holds his COVID-19 saliva test at a drive-thru test site at University of Utah Health’s South Jordan Health Center in South Jordan on Friday, Oct. 2, 2020.

© Laura Seitz, Deseret News
Sven Karabegovic holds his COVID-19 saliva test at a drive-thru test site at University of Utah Health’s South Jordan Health Center in South Jordan on Friday, Oct. 2, 2020.

That’s according to new data from the Utah Department of Health on coronavirus risk factors in the state amid an ongoing surge in cases.

It marks the first time the state has released data on how COVID-19 infections have impacted essential health care workers. The data includes anyone who works in a health care setting, as well as those who interact with patients including firefighters, dentists, physical therapists and those in other technical occupations.

To date, 5,709 health care workers have tested positive and 179 have required hospitalization, according to the state health department. Additional information on the four health care worker deaths has not been released due to patient privacy laws.

The latest data also shows that although the coronavirus poses the most risk to those with underlying conditions, those without underlying conditions have accounted for just under half of hospitalizations due to the disease.

Of Utah’s 78,723 confirmed cases since the start of the outbreak, 22.7{554322552816a46baa129cc1ab31b2aae22be5e23f407658ace83a643d80b0e9} have had underlying conditions. Of the 4,019 patients who have required hospitalization, 53.4{554322552816a46baa129cc1ab31b2aae22be5e23f407658ace83a643d80b0e9} have had at least one underlying condition, according to the data.

Those with chronic pulmonary conditions have accounted for a higher percentage of cases, 6.5{554322552816a46baa129cc1ab31b2aae22be5e23f407658ace83a643d80b0e9}, than those with other conditions. Those with hypertension have accounted for 5.9{554322552816a46baa129cc1ab31b2aae22be5e23f407658ace83a643d80b0e9} of cases, and those with diabetes have accounted for 5{554322552816a46baa129cc1ab31b2aae22be5e23f407658ace83a643d80b0e9}.

But those with hypertension face the highest risk of hospitalization compared to those with other underlying conditions, as they have accounted for 24.1{554322552816a46baa129cc1ab31b2aae22be5e23f407658ace83a643d80b0e9} of the state’s COVID-19 hospitalizations. Those with diabetes have accounted for 24{554322552816a46baa129cc1ab31b2aae22be5e23f407658ace83a643d80b0e9} of the hospitalizations — a large share of those patients have had type 2 diabetes, according to the data.

A large majority of cases now have come from known contacts — 49,889. More than 26,000 of those cases have been transmitted in households, followed by 7,169 cases transmitted in workplaces and 6,848 through social events or interactions. Fewer than 100 cases have been contracted through travel, the data shows.

Community transmission, meanwhile, accounts for 11,605 cases.

New cases

Utah health officials reported 1,105 new COVID-19 cases, marking the fifth day in a row with more than 1,000 new cases.

They were confirmed of 5,286 reported tests, with a 20.1{554322552816a46baa129cc1ab31b2aae22be5e23f407658ace83a643d80b0e9} positive rate, according to the Utah Department of Health. The rolling seven-day average for new cases is 1,027 per day, and the average positive test rate is 13.6{554322552816a46baa129cc1ab31b2aae22be5e23f407658ace83a643d80b0e9}

The state has 78,723 cases confirmed out of 866,180 people tested since the start of the pandemic, a rate of 9.1{554322552816a46baa129cc1ab31b2aae22be5e23f407658ace83a643d80b0e9}.

Currently, 183 patients are hospitalized with COVID-19 in Utah, eight more than were hospitalized on Sunday. Hospitalizations since the outbreak hit the state now total 4,019.

Four deaths were also reported Monday — a Salt Lake County man and two Utah County women who were all hospitalized when they died; and a Washington County man who was not hospitalized. They were each between the ages of 65 and 84. They bring the state’s toll due to the coronavirus to 482 people.

Nearly 58,000 of Utah’s cases are considered recovered after surviving the three-week point since their diagnoses, meaning about 20,300 cases remain active.

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