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Summit County COVID-19 case is first community spread in Utah

Utah epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn addresses reporters with the help of a sign language interpreter on Saturday, March 14, 2020. (Photo: KSL TV)

SALT LAKE CITY — A new case of COVID-19, or novel coronavirus, in Summit County, represents the first “community spread” case in the state of Utah.

The Utah Department of Health and Summit County Health Department revealed the diagnosis in a news release Saturday morning.

“This is the first case of community transmission in Utah, and it reinforces the importance of all the community mitigation efforts we’ve been talking about for the past several weeks,” said Dr. Angela Dunn, state epidemiologist for the UDOH. “Everyone needs to continue to do their part: Stay home if you are sick, keep your kids home if they are sick, and practice good hygiene to avoid sharing your germs to others.”

READ MORE: Facts, not fear: KSL NewsRadio’s coronavirus resource center

The latest patient had no travel history or known contact with anyone confirmed to have the virus, which means this is a community spread case. Health officials identified him as a man between the ages of 18 and 60, and said he was isolated and recovering at home.

According to health officials, the patient is an employee at Spur Bar & Grill in Park City, but his job did not require him to regularly interact with customers. They “believe the biggest potential risk is to his co-workers,” the statement said.

“The patient’s employer has been extremely cooperative, and willingly closed last night to conduct a thorough cleaning of the establishment,” said Dr. Rich Bullough, executive director of the Summit County Health Department. “We have identified the case’s co-workers and are working to contact and interview all of them. While we don’t believe there is a high risk to patrons of the bar, if you have visited the Spur Bar and Grill since March 6 you should monitor yourself for symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath.”

Both the state and local health departments said they were working to identify people who may have been in close contact with the man while he had symptoms.

“These individuals will be monitored by public health for fever and respiratory symptoms,” the statement added.

“Residents of Summit County should be assured that we are doing everything within our means to protect their health,” said Thomas C. Fisher, Summit County Manager. “On Thursday, Dr. Bullough and I signed local emergency declarations in anticipation of the very situation we have announced this morning. These declarations were not made lightly and will allow us to utilize emergency resources to combat the spread of COVID-19. Summit County, our municipalities and our other community partners are prepared and ready.”

Health officials were planning a news conference Saturday morning.

This story is developing and will be updated. 


How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus is 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

State of Utah:  https://coronavirus.utah.gov/

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