Two Utah County Businesses accused of ignoring health guidelines, telling COVID positive employees to return to work

May 6, 2020, 9:12 AM | Updated: 12:44 pm
COVID 19 Coronavirus BYU...
(Image credit, Getty Images )
(Image credit, Getty Images )

Utah County officials say that 68 cases of coronavirus can be traced back to two businesses in Utah County that did not follow health and quarantine guidelines.

County officials say one business told people not to quarantine and come to work even after testing positive for COVID-19.

Nearly half of their employees tested positive for COVID-19 afterward.

A statement from the Utah County Commission says another unnamed business in Utah County also did not follow best practices, and between the two businesses, 68 people tested positive.


Related story: Growing a garden to fight the COVID-19 food supply problem

“This is completely unacceptable,” reads the letter. It adds that one of the businesses has been ordered to fully close temporarily.

The findings came from contact tracing efforts performed by the Utah County Department of Health. But they say they will not name those businesses or what they do for privacy concerns.

“First of all, any employees who are symptomatic or have a fever, those employees should not necessarily be required to return to work. They should self-isolate at home and get a test for COVID-19 and follow guidelines from the local health department,” said Nic Dunn with the Utah Valley Chamber.

Hear his full interview on Utah’s Morning News below.


Related story: Utah will provide PPE to small businesses

Utah County Commissioner Tanner Ainge says he doesn’t know the names of the businesses that were found to be not following guidelines were not a public-facing business but rather a manufacturing facility. 

Ainge says that they released the news about the businesses to emphasize the importance of following health guidelines.

“For me, it’s always been important to recognize that there’s the human cost on both sides of this issue that are occurring everywhere. There’s the human cost from the direct exposure to the virus, and there’s the human cost that results from the economic lockdown and the isolation.

“I think the interesting thing about this case, about the business that made someone [who tested positive for COVID-19] come to work, that on both sides it jeopardizes everything,” he told Dave and Dujanovic.

Ainge says that it was a reckless decision that jeopardizes both the public health and the economic recovery of Utah County and should never be allowed.

“That’s the message that we wanted to send. If there’s one bad actor like this, it could jeopardize the rest of our county to have a gradual reopening,” Ainge continued saying that cases like these could lead state leaders to turn the dial back to red. 

Ainge says that of the nearly 70 confirmed cases linked back to the businesses he is unaware of any that have been hospitalized.

Hear the full interview with Commissioner Ainge below


Ralph Clegg, Executive Director of the Utah County Health District told KSL that the reason that neither businesses have been named is due to privacy laws. 

Related story: Intermountain Healthcare to start COVID-19 antibody tests


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


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Two Utah County Businesses accused of ignoring health guidelines, telling COVID positive employees to return to work