Woman Who Visited China Self-Quarantined When She Returned To Utah
LEHI, Utah – A Utah woman revealed she self-quarantined after visiting China just as the COVID-19 outbreak began.
It was supposed to be a flight home to visit family, but instead it turned into a health hazard for Kammy Gu, who was in China just as the coronavirus broke out.
Gu is from Hong Kong – a 15-hour flight from Wuhan, which was ground zero for the outbreak. With Chinese New Year, its reach quickly spread across the country.
“I actually had so many things planned because it was a three-week vacation,” said Gu.
She was in China to celebrate Chinese New Year, considered the busiest travel time of year for its 1.3 billion citizens.
“It’s like Christmas. Everyone has dinner together,” said Gu. “But now the majority of restaurants are closed.”
Gu flew to china Jan. 19 and returned Jan. 26.
She said she arrived in China just as news spread of the new strand of coronavirus outbreak, COVID-19.
“I wasn’t aware of how serious the situation was until the second day,” she said. “So when I went out with my friend, she actually reminded me, ‘Oh you have to get a mask,’” Gu said.
Within days, and with the rising count of infected patients, face masks sold out across the country.
“It was like $10 for 10 masks, but now it’s $40 for 10,” she said. “A lot of them are sold out.”
Her father works in Macau, which is akin to Las Vegas in the United States. Gu shared some of the photos she took, showing a city that’s become a ghost town with empty subways, closed store fronts and desolate streets.
“The Macau government thought, ‘Oh, maybe we shouldn’t allow people to come over anymore’ because they have really limited healthcare resources,” she said. “So hen they stop the casino from running.”
Gu said she thinks the outbreak’s epicenter in the industrial city of Wuhan combined with holiday travel created the perfect storm.
On Sunday CNN reported the death toll in China’s Hubei province was 1,696. Total number of confirmed cases in the province are 58,182. Wuhan is the capital of Hubei province.
“There are so many sick people at this time, but they don’t have enough resources,” Gu said. “I think that is the biggest struggle. They try to halt as much as they can, but if you don’t have enough doctors, what can you do?”
She shortened her trip coming back to the U.S. days before travel restrictions went into effect. She then went into a self-imposed quarantine and worked from home. Then the U.S. issued 14-day movement restrictions for those who have been to China.
Luckily, Gu hasn’t shown any symptoms of the virus.
“Monday was my 15th day to be in the state, and I was healthy enough,” she said.
The Utah Department of Health said 11 people have been tested for the virus, but so far all have come back negative.
Tips to staying healthy
Whether it’s staying safe from COVID-19 or preventing the spread of the flu, there are a few tips everyone should be following – especially during the flu season.
- Avoid traveling
- Avoid contact with sick people
- Cover your mouth with a tissue or your sleeve when coughing and sneezing
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
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