CORONAVIRUS UTAH

Social Media Posts About Avoiding COVID-19 Testing Concern Health Officials

Nov 2, 2020, 8:54 PM

SARATOGA SPRINGS, Utah – A new social media post that tells people not to get tested for COVID-19 caused health officials to react with concern Monday.

The post was shared on the Instagram page of the group Utah Tonight. That’s the same group allegedly responsible for a massive party on Halloween on the west side of Utah Lake attended by 3,000 to 10,000 people.

As for the party, organizers apologized.

“They are very sorry for the unanticipated event and the way that things unfolded,” said Karson Jensen.

Jensen is not one of the organizers, but he is friends with them and was a videographer at Saturday night’s party.

He said getting thousands of people there was not intentional.

“It was a group of 10 plus individuals that came together and had the means to put on an event for some friends on Halloween,” said Jensen. “The invitation was shared and messaged so many times, but never publicly advertised or monetized in any way. It just spread like wildfire.”

Video from the party was shared on Utah Tonight’s Instagram page along with this post:

“Please share. Let’s get life back to normal by not getting tested for COVID-19. If you are sick, stay home (They don’t usually give you treatment anyway). Getting tested simply provides the mob with more ammunition to control our lives! 2021 is on the line.”

(@UtahTonight/Instagram)

Health officials said they’ve heard these kinds of statements from the beginning of the pandemic, but lately, they’re ramping up. They said avoiding COVID-19 tests is dangerous for you and those around you.

“I don’t think a lot of people take this seriously until it actually hits home, when they have a friend or family member who’s been affected by it in a serious way,” said Lee Cherie Booth, a registered nurse with the Salt Lake County Health Department.

While Jensen did not comment on the post, he did say COVID-19 isn’t the only thing we need to be talking about.

“The amount of people that attended that party on Saturday, in my opinion, speaks for itself. In the sense that these are conversations that need to be had,” said Jensen. “There need to be safe places and safe ways for these kids to gather and really deal with their mental health.”

Jensen said the organizers do not plan to throw a party of that size again during the pandemic.

Meanwhile, authorities will decide this week whether the organizers will be cited for not having a permit for the party.

The state of Utah has organized a website that has information on COVID-19 testing and provides information and other resources during the pandemic.

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Social Media Posts About Avoiding COVID-19 Testing Concern Health Officials