Utah Department Of Health: State Is Ready For COVID-19
Feb 27, 2020, 2:13 PM | Updated: Feb 28, 2020, 12:59 am
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – State health leaders do not want anybody to panic, but they need everyone to be prepared for the likely arrival of the coronavirus in Utah.
Representatives from the Utah Department of Health and the state’s major hospitals held a press conference Thursday to provide information about their readiness to handle coronavirus if, or when, the virus first sickens somebody here.
There have been no positive cases of coronavirus in Utah. The executive director of UDOH said 12 individuals have been tested for COVID-19 in the state, though none proved positive.
“It really takes a team effort to address this issue,“ said state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn.
Dr. Dunn She was picked to head up the Beehive State’s coronavirus response team.
“The risk for disease for people living in Utah is still low,” she said. “There is potential for significant disruption to our daily lives in the near future, and we want to let the public to know that Utah’s public health and hospital systems are working together and preparing for what may lie head.”
Posted by Utah Department of Health on Thursday, February 27, 2020
COVID-19 is not currently spreading in Utah, but the health systems are ready, according to the professionals who run them.
“We have protocols in place. There will likely be a patient at some point to test positive and we will have to deal with that, but we will be ready to do so.” said Dr. Ralph Costanzo, chief medical officer at MountainStar\HCA Healthcare
Officials provided information about what to do when the coronavirus does arrive:
- Stay home if you’re sick.
- Wash your hands regularly, and avoid touching your face.
- For communities, if the virus begins to spread, public health leaders will close schools, cancel church services, and limit large gatherings to limit social interaction.
- At that stage, there might also be widespread cleaning of buses, trains and other areas where the public congregates.
“We do have a plan in place the minute that we get a positive,” said Dr. Dunn. “Within 24 hours, we will put out a news release so that the… public is aware that we do have a case in Utah.“
They will protect that person‘s privacy, but they will also test anybody who came in close contact with that individual. They said they would also ensure that the individual is quarantined away from the general public for 14 days while being assessed by public healthcare systems.
“I think that you can be assured that in this valley, the healthcare is excellent and we are all highly prepared to take care of this just like we were a few years ago with the Ebola virus outbreak,” said Dr. Costanzo.
Dr. Dunn said her biggest concern for now is ensuring that the local healthcare systems and healthcare workers have the supplies and knowledge to protect themselves and provide the care that’s necessary.
Have you or a family member been affected by coronavirus issues in Utah? KSL wants to hear from you. Contact KSL by emailing email@example.com.
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Latest information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about the public response to the coronavirus disease outbreak.
The Intermountain Healthcare GermWatch gives you the latest information on disease activity of all kinds going around in Utah.
How do I prevent it?
The CDC has some simple recommendations, most of which are the same for preventing other respiratory illnesses or the flu:
- Avoid close contact with people who may be sick
- Avoid touching your face
- Stay home when you are sick
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
- If soap and water is not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
The CDC does not recommend wearing a facemask respirator to protect yourself from coronavirus unless a healthcare professional recommends it.