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Utah COVID-19 Task Force Working To Ease Virus Concerns

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah COVID-19 Community Task Force and state officials are working to ease public concerns after the first case of the novel coronavirus in Utah was confirmed Friday night.

Having a little laugh at times is good for the soul. That’s why the Utah Department of Transportation poked some fun at the coronavirus on its highway signs Saturday.

The signs read “Don’t let the coronavirus slow you down” and then gave the state website where people could go for information.

Similar humorous signs, such as “Keep Calm and Wash Your Hands,” have been seen in public restrooms.

The signs are meant to be a reminder to people to keep a level head.

That humor can help because there are some people right now who are really worried about the disease.

“I guess we can understand why people would be concerned about COVID-19,” said David Heaton, public information officer for the Southwest Utah Public Health Department. “This is a new virus, a new outbreak that’s been spreading throughout the west and we are seeing more cases in the United States.”

That includes Utah.

The Utah Department of Health announced the first case of a person who was diagnosed with the novel coronavirus while in Utah on Friday night. That patient is a Davis County resident above the age of 60.

“This patient is recovering at home and is under a county-issued isolation order by the Davis County Health Department,” said UDOH state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn.

Of course, hearing that could add to some of the panic because people have died after getting the coronavirus.

However, health professionals said there are a lot more people who are recovering from it than dying from it.

“We want to emphasize that, generally, most people that get COVID-19 will have a mild disease or even no symptoms and fully recover,” Heaton said.

Even still, it’s always wise to prepare. That’s why Governor Gary Herbert declared a State of Emergency late Friday afternoon.

It was a move to free up state funding in advance for local communities to better handle and respond to any coronavirus outbreaks.

Many people are preparing in their own ways, such as stocking up on bottled water and toilet paper.

Someone even stole toilet paper rolls from the restroom at the Kaysville Police Department.

Again, it’s the humor, that sometimes gets us through.

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

Coronavirus Resources

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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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