Utah breaks yet another daily record with 546 new COVID-19 cases

SALT LAKE CITY — For the second day in a row, Utah reported its largest daily rise in COVID-19 cases, with 546 more confirmed.

Saturday’s new cases surpass those reported Friday — the previous daily record — by 107.

Since Friday, 2,952 more people were tested for the virus, according to the Utah Department of Health. The positive rate was about 18.5%.

The new coronavirus cases bring the Beehive State’s total since the outbreak began to 11,798. The positive rate of all 235,149 tested in Utah rose to 5% on Saturday.

One more person also died with the disease, a Weber County man older than 85 who was a resident in a long-term care facility. He brings the state’s coronavirus death toll to 121.

Twenty more people required hospitalization with the disease since Friday. Now, 116 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in Utah.

Just under 7,000 of the state’s cases are considered recovered after passing the three-week point since their diagnoses.

Veterans’ advocate dies

A prominent Utah veterans’ advocate was announced Saturday as one of the state’s most recent COVID-19 deaths.

William E. Christoffersen died earlier this week at the William E. Christoffersen Salt Lake Veterans Home, which bears his name. He died just ahead of his 94th birthday, the Utah Department of Veterans & Military Affairs said in a statement.

Christoffersen “made it his goal” to see the veteran’s home built, according to the department. It opened in 1998 and was renamed for him in 2013.

“As a World War II veteran, William Christoffersen embodied the greatest generation and its commitment to service, personal responsibility and hard work,” Gov. Gary Herbert said in a statement.

“The state of Utah named the William E. Christoffersen Veterans Home in his honor in 2013 as a tribute and reflection of his life’s work. Jeanette and I were saddened to hear of his passing, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends,” he said.

Christofferson served for 75 years in the American Legion, officials said, and held many national and department offices. He served as a member of the National Executive Committee from 1963 to 1973 and again from 1975 to 2013.

“I had the distinct honor of meeting Bill for the first time in 2013. This giant of a man — both figuratively and physically — was inspirational,” Gary Harter, executive director of the Utah Department of Veterans & Military Affairs, said in the statement.

“He was a steadfast, dedicated champion who dedicated more than 70 years to helping veterans in Utah and across the nation. Utah and our country are better off because we had the opportunity to learn from Bill as he walked and fought for our veterans.”

Last week, the Utah Department of Health announced that dozens of residents and some staff members at the veterans’ home had tested positive for COVID-19.