Gov. Gary Herbert waits to speak during the weekly COVID-19 briefing at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020.
SALT LAKE CITY – It was an optimistic Utah Gov. Gary Herbert who spoke during the state’s Wednesday COVID-19 press briefing, hailing the positive reports of school openings, the recent low numbers of coronavirus hospitalizations and progress being made in the development of a coronavirus vaccine.
“The hospitalization rate, again, dropped dramatically. Right now COVID-19 patients are only using nine percent of the ICU beds,” Gov. Herbert said. “That’s almost cut in half from where it used to be. So that’s a good sign when it comes to making sure we don’t overwhelm the hospital and health care system.”
The Governor said in talks with medical advisors he’s encouraged with the effort to develop a vaccine.
“There really has been an all hands on deck effort to see if we can develop a vaccine. What we’re going to be doing in a year’s time is what would normally take three years to get a vaccine approved. And by most accounts we’re just months away from having a vaccine.”
An increase of 407 new COVID-19 positive cases was reported Wednesday by the Utah Health Department during a 24-hour period when 6,730 people were tested.
Bear River Health Department’s Wednesday report included 16 new positive cases, 12 in Cache County and four in Box Elder County.
There have been 2,515 positive tests recorded in the Bear River district with 2,068 in Cache County and 436 in Box Elder County and 11 in Rich County.
Also, among the total 2,515 positive cases in the Bear River District, 2,208 are described as recovered.
There are three COVID patients from the district hospitalized, all from Cache County.
The number of positive tests in Utah since the outbreak in March grew to 50,174 on Wednesday.
The rolling seven-day average for positive tests is now 376 per day and the seven-day average for percent of positive laboratory tests is 8.6 percent.
Four more coronavirus deaths were reported since Tuesday and there have now been 401 COVID-19 deaths in Utah.
Among the 50,174 positive tests for the disease in Utah since the start of the pandemic, 41,937 are considered recovered.
As of Wednesday 637,329 Utahns have been tested for the disease since the start of the outbreak.
The latest Idaho update shows 30,475 confirmed COVID-19 cases. There have been 326 COVID deaths in the state with 54 positive tests in Franklin County, 30 positives in Bear Lake County and 18 in Oneida County.