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South Salt Lake now requires people to tell first responders if patients have COVID-19

Credit SSL Fire Department

SOUTH SALT LAKE – South Salt Lake Fire Chief Terry Addison told the city council recently that first responders have gone out on at least three calls to places like long-term care facilities during the pandemic where they were not told the patient had COVID-19

That could be an issue for any department, but particularly a small one. 

“One person gets it, and then you infect two, who infects two more, and it doubles each time. Pretty soon, your public safety departments would be ineffective,” Addison said. 

Last week, the city council voted on a new ordinance that makes it a Class B Misdemeanor not to let dispatch and first responders know if you, or the person you are calling about, has COVID-19 or any communicable disease that is an immediate threat to public health or safety. 

Chief Addison said first responders also need to know that information so they can bring along the right amount of personal protective equipment. 

“That way we know we protect ourselves right when we walk through the door. Because who knows how many people in that facility could be exposed? We’re protecting the response, who in turn, will help slow the spread,” Addison said. 

Councilmember Shane Siwik was one of two “no” votes. He felt the ordinance was too broad. 

“We are making it a crime for, let’s say, a life partner…taking care of somebody with AIDS to not report that,” Siwik said.   

How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronaviruses transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
  • Get a flu shot.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A

Utah’s Coronavirus Information

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States