COVID-19 testing will be processed October 5 at the Mount Olympus Senior Center in Millcreek. Those with atrial fibrillation — a heart condition that affects more than 12 million people in the U.S. — are at significantly increased risk of complications and death from the coronavirus, researchers with Intermountain Healthcare announced Wednesday. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)
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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah health officials reported 2,219 new cases of COVID-19 and 13 deaths on Wednesday.
The seven-day rolling average for new cases is 1,674 per day, and the mean positive rate of test takers is 16.6%, according to a daily update from the Utah Department of Health.
School-age children accounted for 495 of the new cases — 278 were aged 5-10, 105 were 11-13 and 112 were 14-17, officials said.
Health professionals administered 13,338 additional vaccine doses, bringing the total number of doses administered in Utah to 3,974,270.
Of the cases confirmed Wednesday, 542 were breakthrough cases in people who had been fully vaccinated more than two weeks earlier. Now, 36,627 breakthrough cases have been confirmed since vaccines became available earlier this year — about 6.3% of the state’s 579,376 total cases since the start of the pandemic in early 2020.
Three breakthrough cases were also among the deaths reported Wednesday, bringing the number of breakthrough deaths to 228, or 6.7%, of the 3,398 people who died as a result of the disease.
Research on atrial fibrillation
Meanwhile, researchers from Intermountain Healthcare announced on Wednesday that people with atrial fibrillation — a heart condition that affects more than 12 million people in the US — are at significantly increased risk of complications and death from the new coronavirus.
Researchers described atrial fibrillation, or AFib, as the most common type of heart rhythm disorder in adults. According to the American Heart Association, the condition causes a “shaky” or irregular heartbeat and can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other complications.
The Intermountain study in Salt Lake City found that those with a history of atrial fibrillation who contract COVID-19 “are not only more likely to require hospitalization, ICU, and ventilator support, but are nearly 62% more likely to have a major cardiovascular event, such as if hospitalization for heart failure, and 40% more likely to die than individuals with no history of atrial fibrillation,” hospital officials said in a statement.
“We often think of atrial fibrillation as a more bothersome arrhythmia that can cause unpleasant symptoms and some negative clinical effects, but is generally not life-threatening,” says Dr. Michael J. Cutler, the study’s principal investigator and a heart rhythm disorder. specialist at the Intermountain Healthcare Heart Institute.
“However, the findings of our study suggest that patients with atrial fibrillation are at higher risk than the general population for serious complications from COVID-19 disease.”
Cutler and others who contributed to the study presented their findings this week at the American Heart Association 2021 Scientific Sessions.
The study found that 3,119 patients with a previous diagnosis of atrial fibrillation who were examined at Intermountain Healthcare after testing positive for the coronavirus did “clinically worse” than patients without a previous AFib diagnosis. The study took place between March 2020 and May 2021.
Researchers said those patients were more likely to require hospitalization, oxygen support, intensive care treatment and ventilators. According to the statement, they were also 61.5% more likely to have a major cardiovascular event such as heart failure, and 40% more likely to die from COVID-19 than those without AFib.
Cutler urged patients with AFib to understand they are in a higher risk category and to take precautions against the coronavirus.
The findings will also help doctors understand how to treat patients with atrial fibrillation with COVID-19, researchers noted.
The Utah Department of Health has announced changes to how estimates of race and ethnicity data are reported in the state’s COVID-19 data dashboard, including for vaccine uptake, testing, cases, hospitalizations and deaths. Populations the department previously used were based on a person’s self-chosen identity, allowing residents to identify as one race or multiple races combined, officials said in a statement.
But that created a scenario where someone with a multiracial identity was counted twice in a population denominator, but only once in a race’s numerator. That meant that if someone identified as both Black and American Indian/Alaska Native, they were counted in the denominator for each of those populations. However, when vaccinated, they would only be counted in one of those populations, according to the statement, resulting in lower rates for minority populations.
“This correction of the data resulted in higher testing and vaccination rates among all racial and ethnic minorities, as well as higher rates, hospitalizations and deaths in these populations,” health officials noted.
Before the change, American Indians/Alaska natives seemed to have the lowest vaccination coverage, but now they are “duly shown to have the highest percentage of all racial/ethnic minority populations.”
The change came after meetings with minority focus groups in recent weeks, officials said, and “provides a more accurate picture of how COVID-19 is affecting communities in Utah, and will better inform policy decisions aimed at addressing health disparities in the state.” .”
The department has also updated its data dashboard with population estimates for 2020 from the United States Census Bureau, as opposed to 2019 estimates, changing the data percentages.
One death was removed from the state’s total number on Wednesday. The latest deaths include:
- A Piute County woman, aged 65 to 84, who was hospitalized when she died.
- A Utah County woman, 65-84, living in a long-term care facility.
- A man from Uintah County, aged 18-24, unknown if hospitalized.
- A Utah County man, 45-64, hospitalized.
- A Rich County man, 65-84, hospitalized.
- A Salt Lake County man, 65-84, hospitalized.
- A man from Duchesne County, 65-84, hospitalized.
- A Box Elder County woman, 45-64, was hospitalized.
- A Salt Lake County man, 45-64, hospitalized.
- Two Salt Lake County men, 65-84, hospitalized.
- A Cache County woman, over 85, has been hospitalized.
- A Utah County man, over the age of 85, has been hospitalized.