CORONAVIRUS UTAH

Utah Health Officials Preparing For Possible ‘Community Spread’ Of Coronavirus

Feb 28, 2020, 6:02 PM | Updated: Mar 2, 2020, 3:10 pm
...

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah health officials are preparing for a potential outbreak after a case of COVID-19 was contracted through “community spread” in California.

Doctors don’t know how or when the Sacramento, California, woman got the coronavirus and local health officials said that impacts testing and the way communities will prepare.

“It is possible that this is the first instance of community spread of COVID-19 in the United States,” said Dr. Angela Dunn, state epidemiologist with the Utah Department of Health.

Dunn said the risk for catching the coronavirus in the U.S. or here in Utah remains low, but when the California woman tested positive without meeting any of the normal risk factors, that raised new concerns.

The risk from that patient is said to be low. She remained in isolation on a ventilator in a northern California hospital. The woman had not traveled to an affected area nor knowingly been in contact with anybody with the virus.

“So, it is possible that this person did come in contact with someone who had COVID-19 and didn’t know it,” Dunn said.

When epidemiologists don’t know how a person contracted the virus, they call that “community spread”– in other words, picked up in public.

Authorities confirmed a second possible case of the virus spread through the community in Santa Clara County, California.

“This development is certainly concerning and it represents a turning point in this outbreak,” Dunn said.

However, she added it was not totally unexpected. This could be an indication that our response in the United States and Utah could start to look like what we’re seeing in China, Japan and Italy.

“It certainly elevates our preparations and planning to another level,” she said. “So, the idea of community transmission in the U.S. puts us on a higher alert.”

She said they will have more communication with the Centers for Disease Control about the status of the virus. It will also impact preparations for the virus here in Utah.

“We will be preparing more directly with our healthcare systems for a potential surge of patients,” Dunn said.

Not necessarily just COVID-19 patients, but patients showing up with fever and cough wanting to be tested. So far, all of those test samples have been sent to the CDC. Next week, they will start testing for the novel coronavirus here in Utah.

“That changes the turnaround time,” she said. “So, it goes from a three-day turnaround time by shipping to the CDC to potentially a 24-hour turnaround time here in Utah.”

Following the discovery of the case in California with an unknown cause, the CDC also changed its testing guidelines for the coronavirus. A patient no longer has to have a travel history to China or have been in close contact with someone who had been there. Testing for coronavirus is now advised by the CDC when a clinician or patient suspects coronavirus.


Coronavirus Resources

Have you or a family member been affected by coronavirus issues in Utah? KSL TV wants to hear from you. Contact KSL by emailing social@ksl.com.

What is COVID-19? Here’s What You Need To Know To Stay Healthy

The latest coronavirus stories from KSL TV can be found here.

Where in the world has the coronavirus already appeared? See the map here.

Your Life Your Health: How can parents prepare their home, children against coronavirus?

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 are 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.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Coronavirus Utah

The Nurse Crisis and Patent Risk....
Debbie Worthen

Utah registered nurses are leaving the field, creating the ‘perfect storm’

"Without nurses, we can't have hospitals." Utah nurses are overworked and underpaid. Some say it's put people at risk.
4 days ago
Four-year-old Viola Fairfax-Panza Getting her COVID-19 vaccination, held by her mother Keke Fairfax...
Jed Boal

Salt Lake Co. distributes COVID vaccines for children 6-months and older

Salt Lake County begins COVID-19 vaccinations for children 6 months and older.
4 days ago
FILE PHOTO (Photo by Stephen Zenner/Getty Images)...
Jed Boal

Utah’s youngest kids should be able to get COVID-19 vaccine next week

Kids as young as 6 months old should be able to get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by the middle of next week. This is an eagerly awaited opportunity for many parents and an issue of concern for others.
8 days ago
Utah COVID testing site. Getty images...
Cary J. Schwanitz, KSL TV

New mobile COVID-19 testing sites open in Utah

With the summer travel season underway and a steady stream of people still testing positive for COVID-19, Nomi Health opened several mobile testing sites across Utah.
17 days ago
The CDC is released updated mask guidance as researchers learn more about COVID-19. (KSL TV)...
Michael Houck, KSL TV

Charter school asks students not to mask to help ‘normalize’ not wearing masks at school

The American Preparatory Academy asks students not to wear a mask during their last three days of school to help with their 'academic and emotional growth.'
28 days ago
AURORA, CO - DECEMBER 15: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center investigat...
Jed Boal, KSL TV

Pfizer booster shot is now approved for children 5-11, here’s what a doctor advises

The CDC now recommends Pfizer COVID-19 booster shots for children ages five to 11. But, a leading pediatric epidemiologist suggests some parents may want to wait based on their summer plans.
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Utah Health Officials Preparing For Possible ‘Community Spread’ Of Coronavirus