Health Officials Announce Second Case Of COVID-19 In Utah
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Department of Health on Tuesday announced the second case of COVID-19 in Utah, and officials said people older than 60 should be taking extra precautions to stay healthy.
The second person who tested positive for COVID-19 resides in the Weber-Morgan health district and is older than 60, according to a joint statement from the UDOH and the Weber-Morgan Health Department. The person is currently in serious but stable condition at Intermountain McKay-Dee Hospital.
Both COVID-19 patients are older than 60, and both cases are travel-related, said state epidemiologist Angela Dunn.
“We know that people over the age of 60, especially those with underlying medical conditions, are at highest risk for developing severe disease from COVID-19,” Dunn said during a press conference after the second case was announced.
LIVE: Utah health officials are holding a press conference with details of the second COVID-19 case in Utah.
Posted by KSL 5 TV on Tuesday, March 10, 2020
The second patient traveled recently to Florida, the Bahamas and Nevada. Dunn noted the patient had not been on a cruise, though she did travel in a boat during a portion of her trip.
The first native case of the virus was confirmed in Davis County. The patient is believed to have been exposed to the coronavirus while on a recent cruise aboard the Grand Princess, which is currently docked in California after multiple people aboard tested positive for the coronavirus.
“Even though a person in Utah has developed the illness, the risk to the general public remains low,” Dunn said after the first case was announced. “However, this case does represent a turning point in our response. Home isolation of confirmed cases who aren’t sick enough to be hospitalized is a proven measure that will help limit the spread of disease. We need the public to understand this, as isolating these types of cases at home will become more routine as we identify additional cases.”
Dunn said it’s important for older residents to be extra cautious and take measures to stay healthy.
“Individuals over the age of 60, especially those with underlying medical conditions, should really take this seriously,” she said.
Those at higher risk should take precautions when traveling and attending events with large groups of people. They should also be preparing for the possibility of having to stay home for 14 days.
Dunn said this should include having enough food and medication for two weeks.
She also noted that those younger than 60 who are sick should not be visiting older residents.
“We really need to protect our older adults,” she said.
So far, no one the second patient was in contact with has tested positive for COVID-19. Health officials have identified three high-risk individuals who had been in contact with that patient, tested them and asked them to self-quarantine.
“We are expecting to see community transmission, and potentially secondary cases from both the first and second case diagnosed here in Utah,” Dunn said. “But we’re thankful that we haven’t yet.”
For both Utah patients who have tested positive for COVID-19, the Utah Department of Health has done extensive contact tracing to try to find out whether they gave the coronavirus to anyone.
“We go back in time to the beginning of their symptoms, and identify everyone they came into close contact with,” Dunn said.
That includes any people they may have been in contact with at events they attended. Health officials have reached out to those individuals, told them they may have been exposed, asked them to self-isolate and call them daily to assess their symptoms.
The Utah Department of Health started testing for new coronavirus in the state lab last week. So far, they have tested nearly 100 patients and they are monitoring another couple hundred for any symptoms.
Right now, the state has the capacity to test 50 specimens a day, which covers 25 patients. Dunn expects they will be able to double that capacity in the next week or so.
Davis County Health Department officials continue to stay in close contact with the first patient who was identified with COVID-19 last week and those who could have been exposed to that individual. That person has to be tested every other day until they test negative for COVID-19. Utah Department of Health officials said that patient is recovering.
Have you or a family member been affected by coronavirus issues in Utah? KSL wants to hear from you. Contact KSL by emailing email@example.com.
What is COVID-19? Here’s What You Need To Know To Stay Healthy: ksltv.com/432037/what-is-covid-19/
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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 is not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
The CDC does not recommend wearing a face mask respirator to protect yourself from coronavirus unless a healthcare professional recommends it.
If you’re worried about whether you may have COVID-19, you can contact the Utah Coronavirus Information Line at 1-800-456-7707 to speak to trained healthcare professional.
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