New high mark for COVID infections in Southern Utah, breaking 600 barrier

A sign leading to the TestUtah free COVID-19 drive-thru testing site at Tech Ridge, St. George, Utah, Dec. 30, 2021 | Photo by Chris Reed, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A new record was set for COVID-19 infections – locally and statewide – as the Utah Department of Health reported that Southern Utah went beyond 600 new infections in one day and the state went beyond 10,000 in one day.

There were 657 new infections in Southern Utah reported on Wednesday, breaking the record of 517 set last Thursday.

The top seven days since the start of the pandemic in March 2020 have come in the last week. There were 10,220 new infections statewide on Wednesday, according to the Utah Department of Health.

Officials have said those numbers are actually vast undercounts with the increased use of at-home COVID-19 tests that are not counted in the official number.

A health official also told St. George News that the state’s allotment of tests is nearing its limit to where there are more new infections than the number of tests available.

Graphic showing 10 days with the most coronavirus cases in Southern Utah through Jan. 12, 2022 | Background photo by mbz-photodesign, iStock/Getty Images Plus; Infographic by Chris Reed, St. George News | Click to enlarge

Before last week, the highest amount of infections in one day was 363 on Dec. 2, 2020.

The main reason for the increased number of infections is the more contagious omicron variant of COVID-19, which Dr. Todd Vento, an infectious disease specialist with Intermountain Healthcare, said has fully usurped the delta variant and now accounts for 95% of COVID-19 infections in Utah.

Omicron has also been easier to detect than previous variants. While previous variants had to be found with a separate, more thorough test, omicron leaves a telltale sign on the regular PCR test where there is an S gene dropoff.

The line at the free drive-thru testing site at Tech Ridge in St. George has been hundreds of cars long.

With at least 10 days between a surge in infections being reflected in hospitalizations, the effect of the infections on St. George Regional Hospital and other hospitals has yet to be fully accounted for. Though officials have said that while omicron has produced fewer severe infections, that will likely be negated by the large volume of infections.

Before the expected surge, the intensive care unit at St. George Regional Hospital had remained beyond capacity. According to hospital officials, as of Wednesday morning, the ICU continued to be packed. Of the hospital’s 284 beds, 254 were filled.

Free tests, schools closing in Mesquite 

The city of Mesquite is making free rapid COVID-19 tests available for all residents.

Outside city hall in Mesquite, Nevada, date unspecified | Photo courtesy of the city of Mesquite, St. George News

The self-administered rapid tests can be picked up until 7 p.m. Wednesday and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Friday in the south parking lot of Mesquite City Hall at 10 E. Mesquite Blvd.

In addition, schools in Mesquite will be closed from Friday until Tuesday because of what the Clark County School District says is a “5-day pause” to provide relief for school staff that has been dwindled by the number of people out with COVID-19.

Southern Utah coronavirus count as of Wednesday, according to Utah Department of Health

Positive COVID-19 tests: 51,124 (7-day average of 464.29 per day, up 114.8% in last week)

Active cases: 5,344 (rising since Jan. 10)

  • Washington County (High in Transmission Index): 733.86 per 100K rate in 14 days, rising since Dec. 30
  • Iron County (High): 672.37, rising
  • Kane County (High): 416.98, rising
  • Garfield County (High): 356.44, rising
  • Beaver County (High): 384.56, steady

Hospitalized: 68 (rising, data not updated since Jan. 6)

Deaths: 514 (1 since Jan 10)

New infections per day in Southern Utah:

  • Friday (Jan. 7): 410
  • Saturday (Jan. 8): 447
  • Sunday (Jan. 9): 458
  • Monday (Jan. 10): 371
  • Tuesday (Jan. 11): 387
  • Wednesday (Jan. 12): 657

Current Utah seven-day average8,975 (rising)

Fully vaccinated in  Southern Utah: 119,484 (45.7% fully vaccinated, +0.01% since Jan. 10)

  • St. George: 49.2% fully vaccinated (+0.05%)  
  • Cedar City: 41.53% (+0.05%) 
  • Washington City: 44.74% (+0.03%) 
  • Ivins/Santa Clara: 52.19% (+0.01%) 
  • Hurricane/LaVerkin: 39.06% (+0.04%)  
  • Enterprise/Veyo/Springdale/Hildale: 44.71% (+0.08%) 
  • Beaver/Garfield/Kane counties: 44.78% (+0.09%)

Southern Utah schools with active COVID-19 infections as of Wednesday, according to Utah Department of Health

NOTE: Utah Department of Health currently provides only ranges of the number of infections in each district, rather than exact figures. Figures may be an overall undercount as not all infections among students are reported to the state.

    • Washington County School District: 148 to 217 (rising since Jan. 10)
    • Iron County School District: 42 to 60 (rising)
    • Kane County School District: 7-10 (rising)
    • Garfield County School District: 2-8 (rising)
    • Beaver County School District: 9-17 (rising)
    • Southwest Utah Charter Schools: 22-34 (rising)
    • Southwest Utah Private Schools: 7-28 (rising)

Schools in yellow (In danger of moving to test-to-stay): None
Schools in red (Students/staff must test negative to attend): None
Top 5 schools: Pine View High (Washington) 13 active infections, Cedar City High (Iron) 13, Crimson Cliffs High (Washington) 12, Snow Canyon High (Washington) 11, Desert Hills High (Washington) 11.

Getting the COVID-19 vaccine

  • Those who can currently get the first dose of the vaccine: Everyone ages 5 and over. Those 5-18 can only receive the Pfizer vaccine. Use to find clinics that have the Pfizer vaccine.
  • Those who can receive the second dose: Those who received their first injection 28 days or more before the appointment time.
  • Those who can receive a booster dose: Those who received Pfizer or Moderna at least five months ago and are 12 or older. Those who received Johnson & Johnson at least two months ago and are 18 or older. Booster shots can be of any form of COVID-19 vaccine.
  • The Southwest Utah Public Health Department have returned to walk-in appointments. Some pharmacies and stores are offering walk-up appointments. Check the links below before going.
  • Must wear a short-sleeve shirt at appointment and should have a personal ID.
  • Vaccines are free of charge.

Washington County:

Where: Southwest Utah Public Health Department St. George office, 620 S. 400 East, St George

For hours and more information: Click here 

Iron County:

Where: Southwest Utah Public Health Department Cedar City office, 260 DL Sargent Dr., Cedar City, 84721.

For hours and more information: Click here 

Kane County:

Where: Southwest Utah Public Health Department Kanab office, 445 N. Main St., Kanab.

For hours and more information: Click here 

Garfield County:

Where: Southwest Utah Public Health Department Panguitch office, 601 Center St., Panguitch.

For hours and more information: Click here 

Beaver County:

Where: Southwest Utah Public Health Department Beaver Office,  75 1175 North, Beaver.

For hours and more information: Click here 

St. George Regional Hospital/Intermountain Healthcare:

Where: 400 East Campus St. George Regional Hospital,  544 S. 400 East, St. George.

Reservations: Click to register

FourPoints Health:

Where: Various locations.

For hours and more information:: Click here

Revere Health:

Where: Revere Health Campus,  2825 E. Mall Drive, St. George.

Reservations: Call (435) 673-6131 to determine if the vaccine is available.


Where: 745 N Dixie Dr in St. George and 915 Red Cliffs Dr. in Washington City.

Reservations: Click to register


Where: 1189 E. 700 South in St. George and 3520 Pioneer Parkway in Santa Clara.

Reservations: Click to register

Lin’s Marketplace:

Where: 1930 W. Sunset Blvd. and 2928 E. Mall Drive in St. George, 1120 State St. in Hurricane and 150 N Main St. in Cedar City.

Reservations: Click to register

Smith’s Food and Drug:

Where: 20 N. Bluff St. and 565 S. Mall Drive in St. George and 633 S. Main St. in Cedar City.

Reservations: Click to register


Where: 275 S River Rd. in St. George.

Reservations: Click to register


Where: 2610 Pioneer Rd. in St. George, 625 W. Telegraph St. in Washington City, 180 N. 3400 West in Hurricane and 1330 S. Providence Center Dr. in Cedar City.

Reservations: Click to register

Family pharmacies:

Where: Several locations

Reservations: Use to find a location near you

COVID-19 information resources

St. George News has made every effort to ensure the information in this story is accurate at the time it was written. However, as the situation and science surrounding the coronavirus continues to evolve, it’s possible that some data has changed.

Check the resources below for up-to-date information and resources.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2022, all rights reserved.

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