SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Utah Governor Gary Herbert declared a state of emergency Friday amid growing concern over the coronavirus or COVID-19.
Herbert’s declaration which received unanimous support from the newly-created Utah COVID-19 Task Force is in response to the “evolving outbreak of novel coronavirus.”
“Our number one focus is preparing for the arrival of novel coronavirus,” Gov. Herbert said. “Issuing this declaration now allows us to take additional proactive steps that will make a big difference in how effectively we can respond once we start seeing COVID-19 diagnoses in Utah.”
Herbert announced the creation of the Utah COVID-19 Task Force on Monday. The task force is led by Lt. Governor Spencer Cox and is comprised of public health officials and health representatives from the private sector as well as business, education and community leaders.
“While no one in Utah has yet tested positive for COVID-19, issuing this order now allows our state and communities to access additional funding and resources that will be instrumental in helping us prepare to slow the spread of coronavirus,” said Lt. Governor Cox in a statement.
As of Friday afternoon when the declaration was announced, Utah did not have a confirmed case of COVID-19, except a single patient who contracted the virus outside the United States. He was transported to Utah for treatment at the request of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the CDC does not classify him as a Utah case.
State officials announced the first confirmed case Friday night. Officials noted that Utah’s neighboring states have recently announced their first cases of the virus.
State officials said COVID-19 task force is working to develop outreach plans to address vulnerable populations, find ways to increase capacity to test for the virus, and ensure access to telehealthcare for residents statewide. They plan to share more information on these efforts as they develop.
- Washing your hands thoroughly
- Disinfecting shared surfaces
- Covering your cough
- If you have symptoms that match coronavirus, including a fever, cough, or shortness of breath, please contact your clinician via telephone or telemedicine and stay away from public spaces, except to seek medical care