Currently the coronavirus hasn’t made its way to Sevier County or the surrounding areas.
“We don’t have any confirmed cases in Sevier County or the Six County area,” said Nate Selin, director of the Central Utah Public Health Department, during a meeting with Sevier County’s commissioners and department heads Monday afternoon.
While there are no confirmed cases, that doesn’t mean people should be careless or take the threat any less seriously, Selin said.
Currently, and through the coming weeks, people are being asked to avoid groups of 10 or more, limit contact with others and work from home where possible. Restaurants have moved to a curbside service model for the time being as dining rooms have been closed. All large events and high school sports events have been cancelled at this point.
The goal is to prevent a massive amount of people being infected all at once, Selin said.
“That would overwhelm our medical community,” Selin said. “We’re trying to slow the virus spread.” He said if the actions being taken are delayed until the first cases in the region are verified, it would be too late.
“The number of cases may be the same,” Selin said. However, if they are spread out over a longer period of time, it will give hospitals a better chance to respond to the virus.
Testing has been conducted in Sevier County, but no one has tested positive at this point, said Mike Grimlie, public information officer for CUPHD.
While some tests have been conducted, the testing is being limited to those who have symptoms, have been in areas with community spread or who have had close contact with someone who has previously tested positive.
The limits on testing are simply because the testing material isn’t abundantly available, and has to be used judiciously, Grimlie said.
Also, each test administered uses up a set of personal protective gear, including items like facemasks, which are also short in supply.
Part of the problem is much of the supply of personal protective gear and testing media was manufactured in China.
“The demand has just outpaced the supply,” Grimlie said.
Symptoms that should be cause for concern include fever, dry cough and shortness of breath, Grimlie said.
Those who suspect they have COVID-19 are asked to call their healthcare provider or local hospital. Those who are potentially infected are not to go directly to the hospital.