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Utah COVID-19 questions: State epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn

Mar 23, 2020, 3:18 PM
COVID-19 Q&A KSL Newsradio...
(Photo credit: Getty Images)
(Photo credit: Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah has COVID-19 questions. And KSL Newsradio is here for you every step of the way, bringing you the latest information. Every weekday from 12:30-1 p.m., we will hold a question and answer session with COVID-19 experts to try and answer your questions.

Call 801-575-8255 to ask your questions and listen live here.

Is Utah flattening the COVID-19 curve?

On Monday, state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn and Nate McDonald with the Utah Coronavirus Task Force joined KSL NewsRadio to answer questions from callers.

Utah has 257 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and one reported death from the virus.

Are we flattening the curve? Dr. Dunn said that Utah Department of Health (UDOH) officials don’t yet know. What they do know, Dunn said, is that Utah will see a daily increase in COVID-19.

Are there enough COVID-19 testing supplies?

There’s a statewide shortage of COVID-19 testing supplies. But UDOH officials said they’ve been working to make more tests available and that their efforts seem to be paying off.

On average, 600-800 COVID-19 tests are being administered daily. Dunn said UDOH hopes to test a few thousand people per day within the coming weeks.

Dunn said the UDOH is working with local laboratories to increase the capacity for testing.  She also mentioned the guidelines for being tested will be updated soon.

If you have a temperature of 100.4, you should reach out to your health care provider via telephone, or virtual meeting space, to see if you need to be tested.

Is a shelter in place mandate coming?

As of Monday, there are no plans for a universal shelter in place, said to Dunn.

However, Dunn and McDonald reiterated the importance of paying attention to what the state and state health officials are saying regarding COVID-19.

Dunn stressed that Utahns over the age of 65 should not leave their house unless they are in need of critical services. Everyone else should be practicing social distancing and avoiding gathering of 10 people or more.

And McDonald said health officials are relying on Utahns to use their common sense. State officials were upset to see mass gatherings at the Salt Lake City International airport to pick up missionaries.

On the question of a mandated shelter in place, McDonald said if Utahns continue to act responsibly, further action will need to be enforced.

What about schools?

Utah Governor Gary Herbert ordered a two-week soft-closure of all public and charter schools in Utah.  Dunn said the Utah Board of Education is working with the Utah Coronavirus Task Force to address when students will be back in the classroom.

McDonald added the Utah Board of Education has been communicating with the task force every day and more information on the subject will be available this week.

The economic impact

Businesses and families are already feeling the impact of COVID-19. Thousands of Utahns are out of work and are wondering where their next paycheck is coming from.

There’s no word on what the state plans to do in regards to mortgage payments or rent evictions.

McDonald said Utah is focusing on jobs. He advises looking at the Utah Coronavirus Website for the latest information. If you’re looking for work or filing for unemployment, head over to the Department of Workplace Services website. 

Instead of calling, McDonald recommends utilizing online tools to speed up the process.

For businesses on the brink of closing, McDonald said an Economic Recovery Task Force is in place and is looking at different options to help small businesses. These options include everything from small business loans to small business grants.

What next?

We will be back every weekday to answer your questions.

If you missed today’s Q&A, you can still listen to it here or wherever you get your podcasts!

Do you have a question after listening to the podcast? Leave us a voicemail at 801-237-2482!

To see the other conversations that we’ve had on our Coronavirus Q&A click here!

 

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. 

Resources for more information 

LOCAL: 

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 Links 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization 

Cases in the United States 

 

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Utah COVID-19 questions: State epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn