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Task Force Coordinating Utah’s COVID-19 Preparations, Stores Stocking Up

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Coronavirus Task Force met Friday morning at the Utah State Capitol to discuss their next steps of preparation. They know the virus is likely to surface here but said reasonable planning should eliminate any feelings of panic.

“This is the most important thing: this is not a time to panic at all,” said Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox. “It won’t be. The thing about this virus is, again, 80% of the cases are extremely mild, you won’t even need to see a doctor for any reason.”

Those who are more vulnerable physically and have underlying health issues will need to be more cautious about germs and practice good hygiene. If a time comes when Utahns need to take different measures, the task force said they will let the state know what to do.

So far, Cox said they’re not seeing or sensing any kind of panic in the community.

Although health officials in Nevada and Colorado have confirmed cases of COVID-19, Utah did not have any confirmed cases as of Friday night.

Right now, the task force was coordinating preparations with healthcare providers to make sure that they don’t get overwhelmed when the coronavirus does arrive and if it starts to spread.

Store Preparations And Supplies

“It seems like normal shopping,” said Jordan Meister, store director at Harmons Grocery.

There was no panic at the City Creek Harmons Friday, but they were selling a lot more toilet paper, paper towels and hand sanitizer than usual.

Right now, store officials said they’re having a hard time keeping hand sanitizer on the shelves but their supply chain has not dried up.

As far as other disinfectant cleaners are going, shoppers may not be able to find the brand they want for disinfectant wipes. But stores have plenty of products they can use to disinfect their homes.

“They’ve been a little bit tough. But, we’ve been able to keep them in stock every day,” Meister said. 
Also selling well, but not in short supply, were
 “canned vegetables, macaroni and cheese, tuna, bags of rice…things that have a long shelf life,” he said.

That’s exactly what officials said Utahns will need if they have to stay at home for two weeks while the virus runs its course.

“Make sure you have a little extra food in the pantry, make sure if you have any medications you’re dependent upon, that you have those filled and you have a little extra supply,” Cox said.

Everyone will need toilet paper, but Cox said Utahns should focus on the things they’ll need if they must quarantine at home.

“We’re really not seeing any kind of panic, other than the toilet paper and the bottled water at Costco,” he said. “People just want to be prepared for whatever is coming, and that’s a positive thing.”

At Harmons, they were also taking extra measures to make shoppers feel comfortable and safe.

“Just as you guys were walking in, we installed eight more sanitizer stations just around doors and high traffic areas where people are meeting each other, potentially wanting to handshake,” Meister said.

As for bottled water, Utah Department of Environmental Quality officials said the coronavirus will not compromise Utah’s water systems.

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