Case Rates Continue To Hover Below Records As Universities Return To Entirely Online Instruction 

suu covid testing

The state’s rate of new diagnoses continues to drop slightly, with 2,510 new coronavirus cases reported Tuesday, of which 59 were recorded in Iron County. The Utah Department of Health reported a seven-day average of 2,292 new positive test results per day — the lowest rate since Nov. 6.

Despite the drop in cases, the deaths in Utah due to COVID-19 have surged again, with 19 new fatalities reported since Monday. UDOH reported the deaths of 12 men and seven women.

Two of those deaths occured in Washington County, a man aged 65 to 84 and a man older than 85. The other ten occured in counties across the state.

Hospitalizations continued to rise Tuesday as well, with 575 Utah patients currently admitted — a record high. In total, 8,279 patients have been hospitalized in Utah for COVID-19, with a record single-day increase of 144 patients since Monday.

As universities return to remote instruction, Gov. Gary Herbert has updated his statewide university testing mandate, now requiring schools to test asymptomatic students every two weeks instead of every week.

With this change and fewer students on campus, Southern Utah University has adjusted its on-campus testing schedule, according to Vice President of Student Affairs Jared Tippets. Testing is now on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. until Dec. 17. Students can schedule an appointment by visiting the SUU coronavirus testing website.

On the national level, bipartisan rank-and-file group of senators and representatives — including Utah Sen. Mitt Romney — unveiled a proposed $908 billion emergency pandemic relief package Tuesday, according to the Salt Lake Tribune, hoping to break a monthslong impasse among congressional leaders and President Donald Trump.

The package would go toward such things as extra federal unemployment benefits, money for the Paycheck Protection Program to help small businesses keep workers employed and aid for airlines and mass transit.

Additionally, it would extend deferrals for student loan payments and rental housing assistance. It would also provide funds to produce and distribute vaccines for COVID-19.

Story By: Larissa Beatty