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(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune file photo) A motorist drives a car with a message past the state Capitol during a July 23, 2020, protest to demand state and local leaders ensure Utah schools protect students and staff when schools reopen.

For the past week, Utah’s hospital beds have been occupied by more coronavirus patients than at any time since the beginning of the pandemic.

There were 211 patients hospitalized concurrently as of Tuesday, for a 7-day average of 209 — a new week-long record. And the Utah Department of Health announced 42 new hospital admissions, one of the biggest daily increases so far.

Meanwhile, the state’s death toll stood at 286 on Tuesday, with five new deaths reported. They are:

A Salt Lake County man, older than 85, who died in a hospital.A San Juan County man, older than 85, who lived in a long-term care facility.A Davis County woman, between the ages of 65 and 84, who lived in a long-term care facility.A Salt Lake County man, age 65 to 84, who lived in a long-term care facility.A Washington County woman, age 65 to 84, who died in a hospital.

There were 446 new cases reported on Tuesday, continuing a months-long pattern of Mondays and Tuesdays returning lower numbers than the state’s seven-day average. As of Tuesday, that average was 541 per day — still above the 500-case average that Gov. Gary Herbert has called for by Aug. 1, but lower than Monday’s average of 544.  

The decrease in new cases appears to be driven by Salt Lake County, where seven-day averages have fallen from 302 new cases per day on July 15 to 224 on Tuesday. A mask order has been in place in Salt Lake County since June 27. As of Tuesday, Salt Lake County was averaging fewer cases per capita than San Juan, Beaver, Garfield and Utah counties.

The rate of positive test results for the previous week rose slightly, from 9.5% on Monday to 9.7% on Tuesday. The highest average percent positive was 10.5% on June 19, with another peak of 10.3% on July 11, according to UDOH data.

Of the 38,855 Utahns who have tested positive for COVID-19, 25,905 are considered “recovered” — that is, they have survived for at least three weeks after being diagnosed.

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