At Least 112 Confirmed COVID-19 Cases In Utah
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Health officials on Friday updated the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Utah to at least 112.
According to the Utah Department of Health, 102 of those cases are in Utah residents and 10 cases are in non-residents visiting the state.
State epidemiologist Angela Dunn said it was the largest one-day jump in cases so far.
“It’s really important to keep social interaction with as few people as possible,” Dunn said during UDOH’s daily COVID-19 update on Friday. “And then, staying home when you’re sick and not socializing is going to be very important.”
The number of positive COVID-19 cases has increased by roughly 50% in Utah each day this week, but there was also a 200% rise in testing.
“More cases lead to more cases, and that’s why we’re seeing the bigger jump in the raw number of cases,” Dunn said. “We are still relatively in the beginning of this outbreak in Utah.”
Dunn added the rise in cases was expected but at this point, she does not think Utah needs to go into lockdown the way they have in California and New York if Utahns follow the guidelines for social distancing.
“When we adhere to social distancing restrictions, and when we stay home when we’re sick, then we will start to see a decrease in cases,” she said.
So far more than 2,100 Utahns have been tested and more than 600 people were tested on Thursday.
Officials have seen more cases of community spread, although the majority of COVID-19 cases are travel-related, she said.
LIVE: The Utah Department of Health is providing updates on COVID-19 number in the state
Posted by KSL 5 TV on Friday, March 20, 2020
Salt Lake and Summit counties lead the state with the highest amount of cases, Dunn said.
The exact numbers on how many cases have been reported in each district were not immediately available. UDOH has a website dedicated to coronavirus updates and numbers. However, it was experiencing intermittent outages throughout the day Friday.
The new numbers came just after Gov. Gary Herbert and members of the Utah Economic Response Task Force held a press conference updating the public on the economic situation in the state.
Herbert urged Utahns to continue to buy local, stressing that there is not a shortage of food or supplies and there’s “no need to hoard.”
He also noted that the state government is not shutting down, although employees are practicing social distancing. Herbert reminded residents that online government services are also available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
The governor said there is no intent to create a statewide quarantine or curfew.
Those who have become suddenly unemployed due to the crisis should go to jobs.utah.gov for information on what to do.
Low Medical Supplies A ‘Growing Concern’
Dunn also said protective masks and other pieces of personal protective equipment are a growing concern for Utah medical professionals.
She said UDOH has a supply that will last only a few days and individual hospitals have their own supplies that will help for the time being, but some masks are designed to be used just once.
Medical personnel in states overrun with hospitalized COVID-19 patients, like Washington, have resorted to reusing masks as they deal with shortages. The situation in Utah is not near that point yet.
Dunn indicated the state will not have enough ventilators, at this point, if there is a drastic spike in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. She would not give a specific number of ventilators the department has on hand.
“If we see a huge increase in cases, we will likely not have enough ventilators as needed. So we are working to acquire more,” she said.
The best way to work towards flattening the so-called curve of cases continues to be social distancing and staying at home, according to Dunn. She repeatedly used that term during Friday afternoon’s update, making it clear that it is the single most effective weapon we have for preventing the spread of the virus.
“We need to keep people out of the hospital as much as possible and keep people healthy. By people maintaining social distancing and staying home when they’re sick they are less likely to infect others and less likely for someone to be in the hospital,” she said.
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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 face mask respirator to protect yourself from coronavirus unless a healthcare professional recommends it.
How To Get Help
If you’re worried you may have COVID-19, you can contact the Utah Coronavirus Information Line at 1-800-456-7707 to speak to trained healthcare professionals. You can also use telehealth services through your healthcare providers.
If you see evidence of PRICE GOUGING, the Utah Attorney General’s Office wants you to report it. Common items in question include toilet paper, water, hand sanitizer, certain household cleaners, and even cold medicine and baby formula. Authorities are asking anyone who sees price gouging to report it to the Utah Division of Consumer Protection at 801-530-6601 or 800-721-7233. The division can also be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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