Year goes out with a bang after worst day of pandemic in Utah

Photo illustration. | Photo by lusia599, iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The worst was saved for last, as, according to the Utah Department of Health, Thursday saw the most new infections in one day in the state during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The sign of a new surge, with much of the numbers from the Christmas holiday and New Year’s still to come, meant the fifth-worst day in Southern Utah with 331 new infections. The state as a whole had 4,672 new infections.

The Utah Department of Health released a statement urging caution for New Year’s festivities.

“Today’s case counts are a sobering reminder that we are still in this battle. With schools and universities set to reopen in the coming weeks, each of us must do our part now to ensure schools can operate smoothly,” the statement reads. “If you traveled over the holidays or visited with people outside of your own household, assume that you may have been exposed and please limit your interactions with others …. Doing so can help protect our already strained hospitals and healthcare workers in the coming days and weeks.”

Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, who will be inaugurated on Monday at Tuacahn Ampitheatre in Ivins City as the state’s 18th governor, also urged Utahns to keep their New Year’s Eve celebrations small.

“Fortunately we only saw a small surge related to Thanksgiving,” Cox wrote on Twitter. “But our fear is that people were less cautious during Christmas. If you are planning large gatherings to celebrate New Year’s Eve, please reconsider.”

Southern Utah had its second-straight day with more than 300 new infections after a week where new infections appear to plateau after a surge that started in mid-October.

For some, the ray of hope has been the rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine, with the Southwest Utah Public Health Department currently accepting appointment reservations from non-hospital medical workers – including those who work in dentists offices and pharmacies – to receive the vaccine next week, followed by K-12 school staff and teachers by the end of the month.

Information and links to get an appointment for the free vaccination is at the end of this article.

The last three days of 2020 have been among the deadliest in American history, with Thursday being the second-deadliest day in U.S. history with 3,808 deaths. That is ahead of the deadliest battle of the Civil War and only falls short of the 1900 Galveston Hurricane for the most Americans to die on one day from a single cause.

Of the 10 deadliest days in American history, seven of them have come this month, knocking the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake out of the top 10.

In December, more Americans have died from COVID-19 than could fit in BYUs 63,725-seat LaVell Edwards Stadium, including 46 Southern Utahns.

COVID-19 information resources

St. George News has made every effort to ensure the information in this story is accurate at the time it was written. However, as the situation and science surrounding the coronavirus continues to evolve, it’s possible that some data has changed.

Check the resources below for up-to-date information and resources.

Southern Utah coronavirus count (as of Dec. 31, 2020, seven-day average in parentheses)

Positive COVID-19 tests: 19,024 (217.7 new infections per day in seven days, rising since Dec. 30)

  • Washington County: 14,765 (163.3 per day, rising)
  • Iron County: 3,208 (37.1 per day, rising)
  • Kane County: 332 (1.9 per day, falling)
  • Garfield County: 314 (5 per day, rising)
  • Beaver County: 405 (10.4 per day, falling)

New infections for major Southern Utah cities (numbers released ahead of Southern Utah numbers):

  • St. George: 127 (rising)
  • Washington City: 53 (rising)
  • Hurricane/LaVerkin: 31 (rising)
  • Ivins City/Santa Clara: 23 (steady)
  • Cedar City: 55 (rising)

Deaths: 137 (1 per day, rising)

  • Washington County: 111 (1 new since Dec. 30 report: Hospitalized male 65-84)
  • Iron County: 15
  • Garfield County: 7 
  • Kane County: 2 
  • Beaver County: 2

Hospitalized: 52 (rising)

Active cases: 7,547 (rising)

Current Utah seven-day average: 2,288 (rising)

Vaccines shipped to  Southern Utah: 9,875 (+0)

Number of initial vaccine injections in Southern Utah: 909 (+189)

Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine

  • Currently, only for those that work in non-hospital health care facilities (those in clinics, pharmacies, dentists or other medical offices) can get the vaccine.
  • K-12 teachers and staff will come next at a later date, followed by first responders.
  • Must register in advance online for an appointment time (must call to register in Beaver County). Walk-ins will not be accepted.
  • Must have a personal ID, employment ID and wear a short-sleeve shirt at appointment.
  • Vaccines through the Southwest Utah Public Health Department are free of charge.

Washington County:

Where: Southwest Utah Public Health Department St. George office, 620 S 400 East, 2nd Floor Conference Room, St. George, 84770.

When: Monday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Tuesday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m; Wednesday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m, Thursday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Click to register

Iron County:

Where: Southwest Utah Public Health Department Cedar City office, 260 DL Sargent Dr., Cedar City, 84721.

When: Monday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m; Jan. 12, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Click to register

Kane County:

Where: Southwest Utah Public Health Department Kanab office, 445 N. Main St., Kanab 84741.

When: Jan. 6, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Jan. 13, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Click to register

Garfield County:

Where: Southwest Utah Public Health Department Panguitch office, 601 Center St. Panguitch 84759.

When: Monday, 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.; Jan. 11, 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Click to register

Beaver County:

Where: Beaver Valley Hospital, 1109 N. 100 West St., Beaver 84713 or Milford Valley Memorial Hospital, 850 N. Main St., Milford 84751.

When: Call for appointment times.

Call Beaver Valley Hospital at (435) 438-7100  or Milford Valley Memorial Hospital at (435) 387-2411, ext. 6414 to make an appointment.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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