KSL Hosts Coronavirus Roundtable Discussion With State Leaders

Mar 5, 2020, 6:35 PM | Updated: 8:48 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – In a roundtable discussion hosted by KSL-TV, the Utah state epidemiologist said it was likely that a that mild coronavirus has already entered our community, but remained undetected.

That’s why Dr. Angela Dunn said it’s important to prepare without panicking.

Dr. Dunn was one of several guests Thursday at the KSL Broadcast House, brought together to provide dialogue and information about coronavirus. She was introduced at a February press conference as the lead for the state’s response to the virus.

KSL-TV wants to make sure you have the most relevant, and provide accurate information on COVID-19 so that you and your family can stay safe – and to empower you with knowledge so you can go about your lives.

“It’s about facts, not fear,” said Lt. Governor Spencer Cox.

He participated in Thursday’s discussion, which also included an economist, the head of UTA, and representatives from state agencies on the front lines of the coronavirus response in the state.

“Our main goal is to get good information, and make sure people know where they can go to get accurate information,” the lieutenant governor said.

Cox was picked by Governor Gary Herbert to head up the Utah Coronavirus Task Force. In the KSL-TV roundtable discussion, he told us what the state is doing, and what Utahns should do to prepare for COVID-19.

“We want make sure that they can make decisions quickly, using the best science and information that they have,” said Cox. “This is an evolving and changing situation. It seems like every hour we get new and updated information on something that’s happening.”

A state website and hotline have been set up to help answer most questions. The task force has also asked families, businesses, and churches to make a plan.

“Start thinking ahead (about) what would happen if there is an outbreak in your school, or your neighborhood, or your business,” the lieutenant governor said.

With community-spread coronavirus cases already detected on the West Coast, one plane flight away, the state epidemiologist said it’s likely coronavirus is already here.

“I think there’s a bunch of mild disease throughout the US that we are not detecting because people don’t get care,” said Dr. Dunn.

There’s no need to panic, she said. With mild fever and a cough, people are likely to stay home and tough it out, and not go to the doctor. That’s what most people do with a respiratory virus like a cold, or the flu. 

That’s okay, she said.

“It is mostly a mild disease,” Dr. Dunn said.

The virus mostly affects the elderly, and those in fragile health.

“Our goal as an agency is to make sure we’re able to identify anyone in the state of Utah who is at risk for COVID-19, get them isolated, so they don’t spread to other people, and get them the medical care they need,” said Dr. Dunn.

Here’s the most important message:

“If you’ve got symptoms, just stay home,” said Dr. Dunn. “It’s the same as every other respiratory virus.”

If symptoms are severe, your doctor can help determine if you need to be tested.

“We want to keep people’s lives going as much as we possibly can,” said Cox. “But, if this does happen, making sure that they’re ready for it, they’re prepared, and that they can make accurate decisions themselves.”

It’s important to prepare without panicking, he said. 

If you have a fever and a cough, stay home. If symptoms are severe, call ahead to your doctor and use the telehealth services. Don’t rush into the hospital waiting room and spread germs there.

The lieutenant governor said one of their biggest concerns is making sure our medical facilities are not overwhelmed.

“Our ability to respond to this and to keep the loss of life low depends on that: not overwhelming our health care providers,” said Cox.

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KSL Hosts Coronavirus Roundtable Discussion With State Leaders