According to the latest data released by the US Department of Health and Human Services, Utah ranked 4th among states in terms of hospitalization rate decrease over the past two weeks at -22%.
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The state reported 5 hospitalizations per 100,000 people during that time period and had the 3rd lowest number of deaths per 100,000 at 0.07.
Utah public health officials attribute the state’s recent and all-time low severity of cases to its unique set of demographic factors. Utah has the youngest population in the country with an average age of 31 as well as one of the healthiest populations.
“[Utahns] are in the top 10 of every indicator of chronic disease,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Leisha Nolen. “We’re 40th in terms of obesity levels for our adult population. We’re 49th for hypertension, we’re 46th for diabetes, and we have the absolute lowest rate of smoking.
We have a population that is very young and actually very healthy. And that is what worked well for us for COVID. We know people who are older and who had underlying medical conditions were much more likely to get COVID and severe COVID. Utah had the benefit of who we are and who our population is.”
The state also ranked 4th in terms of the rate of spread on a per-person basis in recent weeks, according to a USA Today report that analyzed data from Johns Hopkins University.
The report showed Davis, Salt Lake, and Utah counties had registered the highest declines of cases in the state in recent weeks with San Juan County having had the worst outbreak with 157 cases per 100,000 per week.
The Utah Department of Health will await the results of Thursday’s vote by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on the new FDA approved COVID-19 booster shots before issuing new state guidance on COVID-19 vaccination.