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Olympian Helps Clean Hospital During Coronavirus Outbreak

PARK CITY, Utah – Healthcare workers everywhere have been praised as heroes during the coronavirus pandemic, doing whatever they can to help. A photo taken of patient-care technician Liz Stephen was just one example.

The image showed Stephen in scrubs, with a face mask and gloves, washing the walls of the Park City Hospital.

The photo got a lot of attention when Intermountain Healthcare sent it out, not only for what she was doing, but because, in addition to being in health care, she is also an Olympic athlete

Stephen normally works as a patient-care technician in same-day surgery, but because of coronavirus concerns, surgeries haven’t been happening as often.

She jumped in to help sanitize rooms, wash walls, and keep things clean.

“I guess I was raised with… if there’s a job that needs to be done, doesn’t matter what the job is, it needs to be done,” said Stephen. “I have a ton of respect for our maintenance and our environmental services, because they have kind of a thankless job.”

Stephen said she is used to doing whatever is needed to make a team better. She’s a 3-time Olympian in cross-country skiing, having competed in 2010 Vancouver, 2014 Sochi, and 2018 PyeongChang.

“That’s probably, when I retired from skiing, that was the first thing that I instantly missed, was just the team,” she said.

Hospital managers said they sure liked having Stephen on their team.

“Liz is one of those people who just stepped in and says, sure, no problem,” said Brenda Puchalski, operating room manager at Intermountain Park City.

Having that kind of team player, with everything going on right now, is vital.

“She’s so unassuming. You know, in Park City, you see a lot of people who have a lot of clout. There are a lot of athletes,” said Puchalski. “It was really funny, because I was telling my husband about her and I said, ‘She just jumps right in.’ He said, ‘Of course she does. She’s an Olympian. That’s her level of commitment.’”

It’s a level many people might not understand, but sure appreciate when it comes to medical workers during coronavirus concerns.

“Yeah, I guess I’m used to the pressure for sure,” said Stephen.

She might not be during her normal job right now, but she’s doing something at a time when anything helps.

“I just feel really grateful to be able to give back in the hospital in any capacity that I’m able to do,” she said.

As always, a team player.


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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