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Utah confirms second case of COVID-19 coronavirus

San Juan County has joined other counties in the state to implement prohibitions on dine-in services and large gatherings. (Image credit: Getty Images)

OGDEN, Utah — The Utah Department of Health and the Weber-Morgan Health Department announced Tuesday that Utah has its second confirmed case of COVID-19 (coronavirus).

The patient resides within the Weber-Morgan health district, is older than 60, and is currently in serious, but stable, condition at Intermountain McKay Dee Hospital. Prior to becoming ill, the patient traveled extensively outside Utah and the U.S. and is believed to have been exposed to COVID-19 during those travels.

Officials say that the sample from the patient was tested by the Utah Public Health Laboratory for the COVID-19 coronavirus and is “considered to be a ‘presumptive positive.'”

State epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn says that though the state now has two confirmed cases of COVID-19 there is still a very low risk to Utahns.

“Both of our cases have been travel-related meaning they did not contract the virus in Utah. We have not identified any community spread of COVID-19, so the risk to Utahn’s is still low,” she says.

 

Coronavirus and Utah

Dr. Dunn says that state health officials have been diligently working to alert anyone who may have come into close contact with both of the affected individuals and that as of yet, there are still only two cases.

“For both of the patients that were diagnosed with COVID-19 in Utah, Public Health has already done extensive contact tracing, that means we go back in time to the beginning of their symptoms and identify everyone they came in close contact with including events they attended, and reach out to those individuals specifically to let them know of their potential exposure and actively monitor them,” Dunn says.

Dunn says that they receive notifications from Mainland China and Iran and that they reach out to them proactively asking about their symptoms and recommend a voluntary 14-day quarantine and then keep in daily contact with them to asses their symptoms.

Dunn says that those who travel from other heavily affected countries like Italy, South Korea, Japan are notified by federal agencies about what to watch out for and are asked to contact their local health department if they develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will conduct further confirmatory testing.

Symptoms

The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to what someone may be experiencing as the result of seasonal influenza – namely a fever, cough, or shortness of breath. These symptoms on their own are not worrisome and should not cause alarm. But if someone exhibits these symptoms who has recently traveled to areas with widespread COVID-19 illness or has been in close contact with a known positive case, that individual should immediately notify their health care provider, who will coordinate with the appropriate public health officials to determine next steps.

There is currently no vaccine or antiviral treatment available for the coronavirus. Health officials say that the best way to stay healthy is to take preventative actions such as proper hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes with an elbow or tissue, and staying home when you are sick.

 

This story is breaking and will be updated.

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