On May 21, the Public Health and Economic Emergency Commission unanimously voted to recommend that new additional COVID-19 data be publicly posted on coronavirus.utah.gov. The data provides a nation-leading public look at how underlying conditions, demographics and other key factors interplay to create higher risks for certain individuals regarding COVID-19.
The Commission also unanimously recommended that COVID-19 test providers collect information on leading risk factors for hospitalization when administering a COVID-19 test. The purpose is for the data to be aggregated and reported to health officials, economic advisors and elected officials. Establishing a better understanding of how many new infections are in high-risk populations will help experts project future risk to the state’s healthcare system.
While COVID-19 cases may rise as the state transitions to lower risk phases, the number of cases is not a good indicator of health risk for all Utahns because 99 percent of Utahns who contract COVID-19 recover. The new data will provide much better indicators.
Utah has made significant progress in accurately assessing public health risks. Consequently, the state has been able to provide effective recommendations to citizens and businesses based on extensive, accurate data that identify highly correlated factors with hospitalization and mortality.
Data from mid-March through mid-May:
30.9 percent of individuals hospitalized with COVID-19 who are over the age of 65 have cardiovascular disease, while only 7.0 percent of individuals hospitalized between 25-44 are hospitalized have cardiovascular disease
While COVID-19 tends to affect older people with underlying health conditions more severely, individuals with diabetes between 45-65 years old may face a similarly high risk of hospitalization. 40 percent of individuals with diabetes between 45-65 years old who contract COVID-19 required hospitalization compared to 43.4 percent of individuals with diabetes over age 65.
42.4 percent of individuals between 45-64 years old who have two or more underlying conditions and contract COVID-19 required hospitalization. About one in five (21.3 percent) of individuals 65 or older who have no known underlying conditions and contract COVID-19 required hospitalization.
66.7 percent of individuals who are 65 or older with kidney disease and contract COVID-19 required hospitalization.
A native Hawaiian/pacific islander who contracts COVID-19 has been two times more likely to be hospitalized (13 percent) than an Asian individual who contracts COVID-19 (6.7 percent).
“We now know much more about who’s at high risk of complications when contracting COVID-19,” said Jefferson Burton, co-chair of the Commission. “Armed with this information, we can form better state strategies for protecting the vulnerable. We can help those who are not vulnerable transition back to work while taking precautions not to infect those who are.”
“We have some of the top minds in the state helping government leaders address this health and economic crisis — epidemiologists, scientists, physicians, economists, business leaders and medical researchers,” said Sen. Dan Hemmert, co-chair of the Commission. “Utah is leading the nation in health and economic outcomes. We’re making progress in understanding how to navigate through this situation.”
Utah’s COVID-19 patient fatality data as of May 26:
94.1 percent of individuals who have passed away in Utah were age 65 or older and/or with a high-risk underlying medical condition, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which was adopted by the Commission’s Medical Advisory Team Working Group.
74 years is the median age of individuals who have passed away from COVID-19 in the state.
74.3 percent of fatalities were age 65 or older.
80 percent of fatalities had at least one underlying health risk factor.
The Commission’s goal is to protect vulnerable populations and allow the state to carefully transition to a lower risk status by making sound data-driven recommendations in consultation with health experts, economic advisors and elected officials. Metrics driving decisions and recommendations include hospital utilization rates, the transmission rate and rate of community spread, as well as new insights about high-risk populations. View key factors the Commission is utilizing here.