SALT LAKE CITY — For the second day in a row, Utah health officials on Tuesday reported fewer than 500 new cases of COVID-19.

© Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Registered nurse Olivia Mauthley prepares COVID-19 tests at Intermountain Healthcare’s Taylorsville Clinic in Taylorsville on Friday, July 17, 2020.

Of the 6,039 tests recorded, 486 were confirmed positive — a 7.2% rate, according to the Utah Department of Health. They bring the state’s total cases since the pandemic began to 35,012 of 475,443 tests, an overall positive rate of 7.4%.

Monday marked the first time in five days with fewer than 500 cases as 409 were confirmed.

The seven-day average of new cases is 610 per day, and the average positive rate of tests is 9.6%. Last Tuesday, the daily average stood at 636 cases confirmed per day and a 10.2% positive rate, according to state health department data.

Though the numbers appear optimistic, health officials say continued vigilance is needed. Whether the state is starting to see a plateau is “really too soon to tell at this point,” said Charla Haley, spokeswoman with the Utah Department of Health.

“The goal of public health is to do as much as we can to prevent Utahns from becoming ill with COVID-19. The best way to do that is to take action to keep illness from spreading,” Haley said.

“As we’ve learned more about COVID-19 we’ve been urging people to stay home when they’re sick, watch for symptoms of COVID-19, observe social distancing, wear face masks when out in public and limit social gatherings. It’s possible those things are finally making a difference in limiting the amount of spread,” she said.

About two weeks ago, Gov. Gary Herbert challenged Utah to reduce its rolling seven-day average to less than 500 cases by Aug. 1. If that doesn’t happen, he warned, restrictions and a mask mandate could be imposed by the state.

When asked what the health department might recommend as August approaches, Haley said: “We’re hopeful the trends will continue to decline and want to remind all Utahns to wear masks when out in public, social distance when possible, limit the size of group gatherings, and stay home when they’re sick.”

The largest case increases Tuesday occurred in Salt Lake County, where 178 were confirmed; Utah County, with 136; Davis County, with 55; Weber-Morgan, with 41; and Southwest Utah area, with 29.

Four additional deaths were reported Tuesday, bringing the coronavirus death toll to 251 people in Utah. The new deaths include:

A Davis County man, between the ages of 65 and 84, who was a long-term care resident A Salt Lake County woman who was older than 85 and a long-term care resident A Box Elder County man between 45 and 64 who was hospitalized when he died A Weber County man, between 65 and 84, who was not hospitalized at the time of his death

Hospitalizations also fell slightly on Tuesday. Currently, 186 people are receiving hospital treatment for the disease compared to 199 on Monday. Just over 2,100 people have been hospitalized for the novel coronavirus in Utah since the pandemic began.

Just over 22,000 of Utah’s cases are considered recovered after passing the three-week point since their diagnoses.

The latest breakdown of Utah cases, hospitalizations and deaths by health district: Salt Lake County, 16,871; 1,120 hospitalized; 139 deaths. Utah County, 6,516; 313 hospitalized; 31 deaths. Southwest Utah, 2,526; 139 hospitalized; 21 deaths. Davis County, 2,415; 143 hospitalized; 8 deaths. Weber-Morgan, 2,112; 132 hospitalized; 23 deaths. Bear River (Box Elder, Cache, Rich), 1,959; 76 hospitalized; 5 deaths. Summit County, 643; 51 hospitalized; 1 death. San Juan County, 545; 68 hospitalized; 19 deaths. Wasatch County, 495; 20 hospitalized; 4 deaths. Tooele County, 443; 19 hospitalized; 0 deaths. Central Utah, 309; 19 hospitalized; 0 deaths. TriCounty (Uinta Basin), 115; 7 hospitalized; 0 deaths. Southeast Utah, 63; 2 hospitalized; 0 deaths.

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