SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH (ABC4 News) – The state of Utah marked a grim milestone on Monday with the Utah Department of Health reporting 1,500 COVID-19 deaths.

This comes as the United States prepares to pass the one year mark of its first COVID-19 diagnosis on Wednesday.

For Utah, the state reported its first COVID-19 case on March 6, 2020 in Davis County.

“It’s likely that this variant has been in Utah for a little bit, and we have now identified and confirmed we do have the UK variant circulating here in Utah,” said Dr. Angela Dunn, the state epidemiologist in a recent briefing with reporters on the variant from the United Kingdom.

As the Beehive State braces for what’s to come with the new variant detected in the U. K., there’s now a different one spreading in nearby California.

On the U.K. variant, Dr. Dunn says, “I think what’s really important for the Utah population to know is that it’s more transmissible. It’s more contagious than the other variants of COVID.”

The “Los Angeles Times” reported on Sunday, it’s too early to detect how widespread the strain is.

“Now more than ever we need to be practicing good public health practice, wearing a face mask, staying home when we’re sick, avoiding large gatherings, and physical distancing as much as we can,” said Dr. Dunn.

Some good news from the pandemic is it’s having a positive effect on this year’s flu season.

The latest numbers being reported showing only seven hospitalizations so far in comparison to last season when there were 1,310.

The Utah Department of Health tells ABC4 “the preventative measures people have been taking over the last year is making such a difference.”

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