Two New Fatalities from COVID-19 Reported in Iron County

Two more Iron County residents have died from COVID-19, the Utah Department of Health announced Thursday.

With the death of the two residents, a hospitalized male between the ages 65-84, and a female care center resident over the age of 85, 10 people from Iron County have now been lost to the disease.

The Southwest Utah Public Health Department announced 49 new cases in Iron County Thursday, bringing the active total to 870. SWUPHD reported 278 new cases in the five-county district, with 4,374 currently active.

Southern Utah University did not update the COVID-19 case count page on Thursday. Since Sept. 3, the university has posted the number of new cases among the campus community during the previous seven days each Thursday. As of 5 p.m., the page has not been updated.

The university initially began testing students once a week using antigen tests on Nov. 19, but announced that students would only need to be tested every other week due to an update to Gov. Gary Herbert’s mandate on Nov. 30. 

Testing will continue for students at SUU until the end of the semester on Dec. 17.

Statewide, the Utah Department of Health reported 3,401 new cases of COVID-19 as the positivity rate is holding steady. 

Teachers will be among the first Utahns to receive the vaccine after healthcare workers, Herbert said in a news conference Thursday.

Herbert also announced that the initial vaccine shipments will be smaller than originally expected. Utah will receive two batches of 154,000 doses, one in December and one in January. 

Herbert said the reason the federal government will send the state’s health department less than the 400,000 doses that were originally estimated to arrive by year’s end is unclear.

Gen. Gustave Perna, who is in charge of the federal government’s vaccine distribution, has told Herbert that Utah received the proper allocation of vaccines. 

Workers at five large Utah hospitals will receive the first 23,400 doses, which will ship within 24 hours of federal authorization. This could be  as soon as early next week, said Rich Lakin, immunization program manager at UDOH.

The next 131,200 doses should arrive by the end of December and will be administered to long-term care workers, health care providers who work outside of hospitals and school employees.

The state reported more than 20 deaths for the third day in a row, marking the virus’s deadliest week in Utah since the pandemic began.

Utah’s death toll surpassed 1,000 Thursday and stood at 1,016, with 21 fatalities reported since Wednesday.

Story by: Connor Sanders
Photo by: Christopher Dimond