HEALTH

How emergency officials help evacuees with COVID-19

Jun 29, 2020, 6:47 AM
knolls fire human caused covid-19...
(Traffic slowly moving away from the Knolls Fire. Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.)
(Traffic slowly moving away from the Knolls Fire. Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.)

SARATOGA SPRINGS – Health concerns over the spread of COVID-19 has the Red Cross and other safety officials changing how they help people displaced by brush fires.  What happens to evacuees who happen to be infected?  Where do they go if they need to isolate themselves but they can’t stay home?

One Saratoga Springs resident, who wants to stay anonymous, was officially told he had COVID-19 Sunday morning.  He intended to follow all of the safety protocols that come with this kind of diagnosis, like isolating himself in his home for 14 days.  Later that day, the Knolls Fire sparked close to his home.

He says, “We could see flames on the mountain right next to us.”

So, hours after being told he can’t leave his home, he was being told he can’t stay.  He informed the officer who ordered him to evacuate he was infected and asked where to go.  However, the officer wasn’t able to help because he was too busy clearing out the rest of the neighborhood.

“He just threw his hands up and said, ‘You’ve got to get out of here,’” he says.  “We had no clue where to go.  We didn’t want to go down to the evacuation center.  My whole family has been exposed, at this point.”

In the end, he decided to stay with other family members who were also likely infected.  However, health officials say there are resources for other evacuees with COVID-19 who might not have any other place to go.  Kirsten Stuart with the Red Cross says many counties already have resources designated specifically for people with coronavirus.

Stuart says, “They have hotel rooms that the county has put aside that are specifically for COVID patients in situations such as this.”

Since the spread of the virus is such a concern, Stuart says they can’t allow people to sleep in the evacuation centers, for now.  However, people can go there to register with the Red Cross, then be given directions to hotels taking in evacuees.  Also, they can bring essential like food and water to people in their cars so they can keep social distancing guidelines.

“We’ve had to basically change the way we handle disasters as a whole,” Stuart says.

 

Today’s Top Stories

Health

A burrow is among the items an adopted desert tortoise needs. Photo by Utah Division of Wildlife Re...
Mia Alberti, Lianne Kolirin and Tara Subramaniam, CNN

Jonathan the tortoise, world’s oldest land animal, celebrates his 190th birthday

The South Atlantic island of St. Helena is celebrating the birthday of the world's oldest living land animal -- a Seychelles giant tortoise called Jonathan, who is turning 190.
2 days ago
The US Food and Drug Administration said it is closely working with drug manufacturers to assess a ...
Carma Hassan, CNN

Children’s painkillers in high demand as respiratory illnesses rise

The US Food and Drug Administration said it is closely working with drug manufacturers to assess the situation.
2 days ago
President John F. Kennedy signs the Mental Retardation Facilities and Community Mental Health Cente...
Curt Gresseth

Is forcing the homeless into treatment the answer?

NYC Mayor Eric Adams has announced a program that involuntarily treats homeless people in "psychiatric crisis." A BYU psychologist weighs the New York approach against the ethics of patient autonomy.
3 days ago
Super agers have been identified by researchers as men and women over age 80 that have the cognitiv...
Curt Gresseth

SuperAgers — who are they, are you one, and can you become one?

SuperAgers are men and women older than 80 with the mental faculties of people decades younger.
4 days ago
Gov. Cox mental health...
Mark Jackson

Utah’s Coordinated Action Plan for Water released this week

Utah’s Coordinated Action Plan for Water was released Wednesday by Gov. Spencer Cox and state agencies.
4 days ago
The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food announced Wednesday two new cases of avian influenza....
Mark Jones

Two new cases of avian influenza announced Wednesday

Two new cases of avian influenza have been confirmed by the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. The new cases are in Iron and Utah counties.
5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
How emergency officials help evacuees with COVID-19