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Coronavirus: Utah man in isolation after testing positive

YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - FEBRUARY 10: An emergency services vehicle drives away from the Diamond Princess cruise ship at Daikoku Pier where the ship is being resupplied and newly diagnosed coronavirus cases taken for treatment as it remains in quarantine after a number of the 3,700 people on board were diagnosed with coronavirus, on February 10, 2020 in Yokohama, Japan. 130 passengers are now confirmed to be infected with coronavirus as Japanese authorities continue treating people on board. The new cases bring the total number of infections to 156 in Japan, the largest number outside of China. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

JAPAN– A Tooele County man is the first known person from Utah to have tested positive for the Coronavirus.

John Haering is now in isolation a hospital in Tokyo, after developing a fever and suffering flu-like symptoms.

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John Haering, with wife Melanie Haering, is the first Utahn that has tested positive for Coronovirus. Photo courtesy of Deseret News

“We are really grateful that he has been tested. At least we know where we stand,” his wife Melanie Haering told KSL Newsradio.Melanie described her husband’s symptoms as including a fever, nausea and a rash.  She says his fever first developed on Monday.


“There is no treatment only a waiting game til the virus subsides. He gets tested again in 48 hours and if it’s positive again, he waits another 48 hours for another test. If that test is negative, he gets tested in 24 hrs and if two tests in a row come up negative he is free to leave,” she said.

Meanwhile, Melanie and other passengers remain quarantined on the ship where they have been confined since January 6th.

“Our son, JJ, and his wife, Mindy Haering, have arranged for cases of water, toothpaste, shampoo and soap to be dropped to him by the local LDS mission president,” she wrote on Facebook. “He has only been given tea and he has to purchase his own water and these toiletries. Thank you for everyone’s, prayers, love and energy given to both of us during this time.”

She also told KSL that she’s sending him an Amazon care package from her stateroom.

The Haerings are one of two Utah couples on the ship, which carried thousands of passengers, on a 29-day trip that included stops in Kagoshima, Tokyo, Okinawa, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Thailand. St. George resident Mark Jorgensen, who is traveling with his wife, Jerri, said they began hearing about the coronavirus — now named COVID-19 — a day or two into the cruise, although they weren’t worried about being exposed to it.

Jorgensen tells the Deseret News that after a trip that included the Lunar New Year in Hong Kong, they docked in Okinawa.  He says it was one of the last stops and that the screen process was so tight it took four hours for passengers to leave the ship.

“We didn’t see much of that place,” Jorgensen said. “We walked around a couple of hours, and then spent two more days at sea. Then, on the last day, we packed our bags before dinner, put them in the hall, and then they announced at dinner that someone who started the cruise in Tokyo had gotten off in Hong Kong because he wasn’t feeling well. He didn’t tell anyone he was sick. He just got off and stayed off. A couple of days later, he got tested, and it was coronavirus.”

He says during the next 24 hours, they were screening people, finding several with temperatures.  After they were tested, ten people were found to be positive.  A decision was made to quarantine passengers for two weeks.  The quarantine was scheduled to end on February 19.  The Princess Cruise line announced a voluntary guest disembarkation plan that allows guests to move to housing facilities in Japan until the quarantine is lifted.

Jorgensen kept track of the number of patients diagnosed each day — 10, 10, 2, 65, 38, 44. Now with 218 patients, the ship is reported to have the highest concentration of coronavirus victims outside China.

“I for some reason am just not worried. It is what it is, and we’ll just deal with it the best that we can,” Melanie Haering told KSL.

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