CORONAVIRUS

State Wants More Utahns Tested For Coronavirus

Apr 14, 2020, 11:09 PM | Updated: Apr 15, 2020, 12:23 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – State health officials continued their plea for people with mild symptoms of the novel coronavirus to be tested as the rate of confirmed cases and the number of tests administered decreases.

“We don’t know if the prevalence is indeed decreasing,” said Dr. Richard Orlandi, chief medical officer at Ambulatory Health at the University of Utah. “The decrease in testing has been a bit of a head-scratcher.”

From the beginning health officials in the state and across the country have identified fever, cough and shortness of breath as the symptoms most associated with COVID-19. In the early stages of its spread in Utah, state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn told Utahns to largely stay home if they exhibited those symptoms due to a lack of testing capabilities.

“Our testing capacity increased drastically, so we changed our message,” Dunn said in Tuesday’s daily COVID-19 press conference.

Utah Daily COVID-19 Update

LIVE: Utah leaders hold daily COVID-19 briefing. Announcement expected on how school will proceed for the remainder of the year.

Posted by KSL 5 TV on Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Dunn also announced the state had tested more than 46,476 people — just 689 more than Monday. That’s well below the state’s ability to test thousands a day.

In response to fewer people heading to the drive-through testing sites, Dunn added three more symptoms to the list: sore throat, muscle aches or a decreased sense of taste or smell. Any one of those symptoms, even a mild form, was enough for anyone to get tested.

“It is crucial for us to understand everybody who has COVID-19, no matter how mild the symptoms,” Dunn said. “And now we have capacity.”

“It’s really a lifesaving move if we can identify people earlier and isolate them to be able to prevent the spread of this disease,” Orlandi said.

Orlandi said the classic definition of a fever is 100.4 degrees. But he said even if you have a temperature of 100 degrees to get tested. And the same goes for a new or worsening cough.

“If it’s more than just that casual throat-clearing cough. If it’s ongoing for a day or two or it’s worsening, we certainly would want to get that person tested,” he said.

KSL NewsRadio’s Dave Noriega was tested Tuesday. He was one of a handful of people that TestUtah.com selected to get testing without symptoms. But as a state, officials said we are not to the point where anyone should just head to the testing tents.

“It risks a false sense of security if we test people too early and they’re negative and then a couple of days later become positive. We want to prevent that,” Orlandi said.


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.

KSL 5 TV Live

Coronavirus

Deer Creek Reservoir...

Alex Cabrero

State parks expecting another record visitation year, hiring more workers

It didn't matter how cold or snowy it was at Deer Creek State Park Friday afternoon. Nothing was going to stop Leonard Sawyer from taking his boat out to do a little fishing.

4 days ago

FILE —  Respiratory virus illness activity continues to increase across the US.
(Joe Burbank/Orl...

Emma Benson

‘Not viruses to mess around with’: Experts urge caution during ongoing ‘tripledemic’

Experts say though not as severe as last year, this winter we're seeing another "tripledemic" – rising cases of COVID-19, flu and RSV in Utah.

1 month ago

Skiers and snowboarders at the Beaver Mountain Resort...

Mike Anderson and Michael Houck, KSL TV

Ski resorts prepare for influx of snow and people

Many Utah ski resorts are finally getting the snow they waited all December for, just in time for another big storm.

1 month ago

FILE - COVID-19 antigen home tests. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison, File)Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS...

Emma Benson

‘The ICUs are full:’ Keep yourself and others healthy this holiday

It's time for holiday gatherings, but with more people around us comes a greater risk of getting sick.

2 months ago

Julianna Preece goes through the mountain of medical documents she's acquired for her health condit...

Lauren Steinbrecher

Herriman couple is suing CVS, says 5x Covid vaccine dose mistake caused health problems

A couple is suing a Utah CVS vaccination clinic, saying a nurse’s mistake led to the wife receiving five times the normal COVID-19 vaccine dose and caused serious health issues she’s still dealing with today.

3 months ago

FILE - COVID-19 antigen home tests. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison, File)Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS...

Associated Press

More free COVID-19 tests from the government are available for home delivery through the mail

Americans can order more free COVID-19 tests online for home delivery.

3 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

State Wants More Utahns Tested For Coronavirus