CORONAVIRUS

State Trying To Fix Glitches With COVID-19 Travel Declaration Alerts

Apr 12, 2020, 10:00 PM | Updated: 10:56 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – State officials implemented a new travel declaration order to track the spread of the novel coronavirus, but there appeared to be some glitches in the system.

People complained they’re getting the alerts even if they’re not entering the state while Utahns said they’re getting the travel alerts while sitting at home on their couch.

Some of those residents said they don’t even live near one of the nine points of entry where travelers receive the notification as they pass through a geofenced area.

Every day since the travel declaration alert went into effect, Jean Liddell said she has received one or sometimes two a day on her phone.

“It’s like an alarm and it kind of scares the heck out of you when you get it,” said Liddell. “It is irritating, very irritating.”

The emergency alerts asked her to fill out a survey about COVD-19 because she just arrived in Utah.

The problem was she was at home in Roosevelt, Utah — about an hour away from the Utah-Colorado state line.

“I haven’t left the state in months and months,” Liddell said. “I don’t even go to Colorado.”

The alerts are supposed to go off when drivers enter the state or when travelers land at Salt Lake City International Airport.

Joe Dougherty with the Utah Division of Emergency Management said the alerts are crucial.

“They make the state of Utah aware of people who are coming into the state and if they’ve experienced symptoms and if they’re coming from an area where there’s been widespread transmission,” Dougherty said.

He said state officials know there are some kinks in the system that need to be worked out. He said they’ve heard about glitches in St. George, Uintah and Duchesne counties and just across the Idaho border.

One woman who lives in Ballard, Utah, which is about 50 miles from the Utah-Colorado state line, said she got 13 alerts Sunday morning alone.

“Yeah 13 alerts is definitely excessive and that’s why we’re looking at making adjustments every single day,” said Dougherty.

State officials said they did expect there to be a few bugs when they launched the travel alert system on Friday.

They said they’ve already worked some of them out, but want to hear about areas where there are still problems.

You can tell them right on the survey that comes through with the alert.

See the latest numbers and information from the Utah Coronavirus Task Force here.


Coronavirus Resources

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 recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

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.

Additional Resources

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 consumerprotection@utah.gov.

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State Trying To Fix Glitches With COVID-19 Travel Declaration Alerts