Central Utah Public Health Department announced Tuesday afternoon the first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19, in a resident of the Central Utah Health District, which includes Juab, Millard, Piute, Sanpete, Sevier and Wayne counties.
The confirmed case is a male, over 60 years of age, and is currently recovering in his home, according to the CUPHD. It is believed that travel outside the United States is the source of the patient’s exposure at this time. Due to medical privacy laws, no further information about the patient will be released.
The central Utah region was the last place in the state without a confirmed diagnosis of the disease.
“The individual followed all the recommendations and protocols to limit exposure by using telemedicine to contact a doctor and coordinate testing with the facility,” CUPHD Health Officer Nate Selin said. “We can’t stress how critical this is in protecting our healthcare workers and other members of the public. If you are symptomatic, we urge you to call your medical provider or hospital rather than just walking in to a facility.”
CUPHD is tracing the patient’s contacts to determine other potential exposures, and will instruct any possible exposures to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days. CUPHD will monitor exposed individuals daily for any symptoms of COVID-19. Symptoms include cough, fever over 100 degrees and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
Self-quarantine, or quarantine at home, means that an individual should not leave their residence for any reason, except when advised by their medical provider to seek medical care in person. They should not go to work, school, shopping, or any public place. They should not visit family or friends, or have any visitors in their home.
“As we expect to see more cases within our health district, we ask for the public’s help in limiting the spread of COVID-19 by adhering to social distancing practices, gathering limitations and personal hygiene as outlined in the governor’s directive and local public health orders,” Selin said.
If a potentially affected individual notices any symptoms, they should isolate away from other individuals and contact a health care provider via telephone. Do not seek medical care in person without first contacting the facility in advance to receive instructions.
Most people with COVID-19 experience only mild illness. People over the age of 60 and those with underlying health conditions are more likely to develop serious illness. More information can be found at coronavirus.utah.gov or centralutahpublichealth.org.