Salt Lake County to restart free, drive-thru COVID-19 testing
Jul 8, 2020, 6:33 AM | Updated: 11:04 am
(AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
SALT LAKE CITY – Hispanics make up over 14% of Utah’s population, but they make up about 43% of the state’s COVID-19 infections. But when Salt Lake County wanted to test how the virus was spreading in high-risk neighborhoods, Deputy Mayor Erin Litvak said people from out of the area showed up instead.
“Between 50 and 76% of the people we were testing in our testing events that were meant for our hot spot areas, were from outside the zip codes in which we were intending,” Litvak explained to the Salt Lake City Council on Tuesday.
The county temporarily shut down the events but are now restarting them in the Glendale and Rose Park neighborhoods of Salt Lake City, as well as Magna and West Valley City.
This time, however, they are using community groups to promote the events, instead of blasting it out to the public.
“We’re doing it in a very sort of targeted communications strategy way to reach the community itself and not have a broad distribution of information going out into the broader community,” Litvack said.
The county is also using healthcare workers to follow up with people who have been tested and connect them with resources, if necessary.
They are also working with the state to distribute reusable cloth masks through local libraries.
Litvak said labs have agreed to release the COVID-19 test results in batches.
“That will allow us a much quicker turnaround to get in touch with those families [who may have been affected] because we’ll be able to get the results exactly from the testing event that we had, instead of us having to search,” Litvak said.
Salt Lake County Health Department Executive Director Gary Edwards told the council they will continue to explore ways to get the test results back sooner, which will help with their COVID-19 tracking and tracing efforts.
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.
Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707