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Utah records 30 deaths from COVID-19, a new single day high

December 18, 2020 GMT

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah state health officials reported 30 new deaths from the coronavirus Thursday, a new single day high that follows a monthlong surge in cases.

The tally eclipsed the previous high of 21 deaths reported Nov. 24, state figures show. A total of 1,126 people have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

“This is a tragic reminder that while there is a lot of hope on the horizon with the vaccine, we still have quite a long ways to go,” said sate epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn said at a Thursday news conference, KSL-TV reported. “We need to continue being vigilant to protect individuals against unnecessary illness and death,.”

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Most of the new deaths were people 65 and over, state health officials said.

The spike in deaths comes as daily case counts declined to a new seven-day average of nearly 2,600, down from about 3,300 in late November. The state also started the distribution of the coronavirus vaccine this week.

“The good news is we see some hope and optimism for the future,” said Gov. Gary Herbert Thursday.