SALT LAKE CITY — Another 13 people have died in Utah because of COVID-19, bringing the state’s pandemic death toll to 1,595 in less than a year.
One of them, who may not yet have been counted in the state totals, is Rufino Rodriguez, a respiratory therapist at Utah Valley Hospital, who died from the disease on Saturday.
The “heart-wrenching event,” Sharon Peterson, a friend of Rodriguez’s said, comes after two intensive care nurses who worked at the hospital also contracted COVID-19. One of them died as a patient in the hospital’s intensive care unit and the other ultimately required a dual-lung transplant in Florida after COVID-19 destroyed her lungs.
“This Utah Valley Hospital ICU community has taken a heavy hit in the past few months,” she said.
Co-workers, family and friends held a vigil for Rodriguez outside the hospital on Saturday, showing him support and hope.
“He was a dear friend, mentor and member of my family and will be missed beyond measure,” said Tami Cooke, a nurse who worked with Rodriguez for 21 years. “We were Life Flight team members for over nine years, he taught me how to be a better nurse.”
A Life Flight helicopter and crew flew by Rodriguez’s hospital window on Saturday, shortly before he died.
The Utah Department of Health reported 1,516 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, resulting from the novel coronavirus.
The rolling seven-day average number of new cases each day is 1,794, with the average percent of positive tests at 19.4% The state has tested 1,965,485 people in Utah for COVID-19, including an increase of 7,331 since Saturday.
There are 461 people being treated with the disease at Utah hospitals. Of the 13 newly reported deaths, four occurred prior to Dec. 31, according to the health department.
To combat the spread of disease, the state has vaccinated 228,348 people, 6,073 more than was reported on Saturday. The health department reports 28,167 people in Utah have received two doses of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
New COVID-19 deaths reported on Sunday are:
- A Salt Lake City man between the ages of 65 and 84 who was hospitalized at the time of his death.
- A Salt Lake County woman between 65 and 84 who was a long-term care facility resident.
- A Salt Lake County man older than 85 who was a long-term care facility resident.
- A Salt Lake County man between 45 and 64 who was not hospitalized.
- A Uintah County man between 65 and 84 who was not hospitalized.
- A Utah County man between 25 and 44 who was a long-term care facility resident.
- Three Utah County men between 65 and 84 who were hospitalized.
- A Utah County woman older than 85 who was a long-term care facility resident.
- A Washington County woman between 65 and 84 who was a long-term care facility resident.
- A Washington County woman older than 85 who was not hospitalized.
- A Weber County woman between 65 and 84 who was not hospitalized.
For more information on Utah’s response to the pandemic, visit coronavirus.utah.gov.