March 31 numbers: Utah confirmed COVID-19 cases climb to 887 as 5th person dies

Tube tests stands in a holder as media visit the Microbiology Laboratory of the University Hospital, CHUV, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Lausanne, Switzerland, Monday, March 23, 2020. The Swiss authorities proclaimed on March 16, a state of emergency in an effort to halt the spread of the coronavirus and Covid-19 disease. The government declared that all entertainment and leisure businesses will shut down. Grocery stores, and hospitals will remain open and new border controls will be put in place. (Denis Balibouse/Keystone via AP, Pool)

SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) — One more person in Utah has died from complications of the coronavirus bringing the total to five, a relatively small number compared to other states in the region.

One week after Utah reported 298 cases and two weeks after just 51, Utah confirmed 887 positive COVID-19 tests Tuesday. The state has tested 18,513 people so far.

Dr. Angela Dunn, with the Utah State Health Department, said there is some evidence that social distancing is working but that it is too early to draw conclusions that this is a solid trend. She said despite more testing, the number of positive results isn't growing, giving some hope that plans in Utah are working.

Worldwide confirmed cases pushed past 840,000, more than 100,000 higher than Monday with more than 41,000 deaths.

The U.S. had 432 new deaths, as tracked by that takes information and provides links to government sources around the globe. The new deaths place the U.S. behind Italy, Spain, and France, all with smaller populations. The U.S. is third in total deaths.

The fifth death in Utah was of a woman between 18 and 60 in the Weber-Morgan health district, the first in that region.

Dunn said the numbers now indicate that Utah's hospital capability looks good and it appears that the state's healthcare facilities will be able to withstand the rush of cases with COVID-19. But she said the state is preparing for a much worse scenario and is planning for expanded facilities in case things turn much worse.

"It is important to have consistent messaging out there," Dunn said. She said she has an awareness of Utah's different needs, populations, and densities. The state has discussed a statewide stay-at-home order but Gov. Gary Herbert has left guidelines up to local jurisdictions.

Several neighboring states have recorded more deaths than Utah's five. Arizona has 24, Colorado 51, Idaho 7, New Mexico 4, Nevada 17 and so far Wyoming has no recorded death. New York has the most deaths of any state in the U.S. by a wide margin with 1,550, followed by New Jersey with 267 and Louisiana with 239 and Washington, which experienced the first explosion of cases in the United States with 210. Of Western U.S. states, California with its much larger population has 149.

The United States' rate of death per million residents has risen quickly over the last week. It now records 11 deaths per million residents but was at two, then three, then five in 48 hours. Italy surrounds San Marino, a tiny country, that leads the world with the most deaths per million at 738. Italy is next with 206, followed by Spain with 177.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert stressed again in a Tuesday press conference that the next two weeks are vital to Utah's success against the virus.

The Utah State Health Department started reporting the total number of hospitalizations on its website, as it has done each day during Utah's battle with the pandemic.

Currently, it lists 73 hospitalizations, less than 10% of the total confirmed tests. Many who have the virus do not experience severe symptoms and recover on their own. Having sufficient hospital beds and ventilators is considered one of the key factors in preventing a high death rate from the virus.

Dunn said the state is always preparing for worse case scenarios in case the state receives many more cases.

Utah's COVID-19 daily count:

  • Sun. March 15 — 28
  • Mon. March 16 — 39
  • Tue. March 17 — 51
  • Wed. March 18 — 63
  • Thur. March 19 — 78
  • Fri. March 20 — 112
  • Sun. March 22 — 181
  • Mon. March 23 — 257
  • Tue. March 24 — 298
  • Wed. March 25 — 346
  • Thur. March 26 — 402
  • Fri. March 27 — 480
  • Sat. March 28 — 602
  • Sun. March 29 — 719
  • Mon. March 30 — 806
  • Tue. March 31 — 887