St. George Man Diagnosed With Coronavirus Outside Utah Being Treated In Murray

Feb 28, 2020, 6:35 PM | Updated: Mar 2, 2020, 3:52 pm

MURRAY, Utah – Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have requested that Intermountain Healthcare provide care for St. George resident Mark Jorgensen, who was diagnosed with COVID-19 outside the state of Utah.

Jorgensen will be treated in a special, self-contained unit at the Intermountain Medical Center in Murray that was designed for high-level isolation. Authorities said the Emergency Preparedness Unit has its own entrances and water and air filtration systems that are independent of the main hospital.

“Caring for this patient in this setting is not a public health threat,” officials said in a statement. “Intermountain will continue to work closely with the CDC and Utah Department of Health to address this issue and take every precaution to keep the patient, our caregivers, and the community safe.

“Intermountain’s highly-trained nurses and physicians in this unit will care for the individual until all tests are negative for COVID-19. Care will be provided in alignment with CDC guidance.”

Dr. Todd Vento, associate medical director of Intermountain Healthcare teleservices, said Jorgensen requested to be closer to home for his treatment.

Jorgensen and his wife, Jerri Jorgensen, were two of the over-3,000 people quarantined on a Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan after dozens tested positive for the coronavirus.

Tooele couple John and Melanie Haering were also onboard the ship. John Haering and Jerri Jorgensen tested positive for the virus in Japan while Melanie Haering and Mark Jorgensen returned to the United States on Feb. 15.

Mark Jorgensen tested positive for the virus at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California, and was quarantined in Sacramento.

Jorgensen was then transported from the base to Utah via a dedicated flight and transported to the Intermountain Medical Center by ground ambulance with a team trained to treat infectious diseases, Vento said.

Coronavirus Patient Being Treated In Utah

LIVE: Officials are giving an update on a coronavirus patient who is being treated at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray. More info here:

Posted by KSL 5 TV on Friday, February 28, 2020

Vento said Jorgensen had not shown any symptoms since arriving in Utah Friday evening and he “felt perfectly fine.”

Jerri Jorgensen had her first negative test since she was diagnosed with the virus in Japan.

She will need two-consecutive negative tests before being released and transported back to Utah, Vento said.

Dr. Angela Dunn, Utah state epidemiologist, said the consecutive, negative tests need to be 24 hours apart.

Earlier in the conference, Dunn said the risk to Utahns remains low and the state is fortunate to have great health care systems.

She said 11 people have been tested for COVID-19 in Utah and all have been negative. Four tests are pending and results should return in the new few days.

Dunn said officials will be able to begin testing for the virus at the Utah State Public Health Lab, reducing the waiting period from three days to 24 hours.

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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.

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St. George Man Diagnosed With Coronavirus Outside Utah Being Treated In Murray