SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – COVID-19, also known as coronavirus is making an impact on the United States, and in Utah.*

Many in Utah are wondering if they’re at risk of catching the infection and how to prepare for a mass epidemic.

The latest cases of Coronavirus in Utah were reported in Summit County. There are 3 cases in Davis county, 1 case in Weber-Morgan County, and 14 cases in Salt Lake County. The grand total of COVID-19 cases in Utah is now up to 21.

Governor Gary Herbert has issued a soft-closing of all public schools throughout the state.

And the Center for Disease Control has advised a limited amount of people at mass-gatherings to 50.

Grocery stores in Utah are seeing items such as water, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, wet wipes and non-perishable food items fly off their shelves at an unusual rate.

Although it’s good to be prepared for the possibility of quarantine, Utah health officials say they’re ready if the virus comes here.

A Utah Coronavirus website, phone number, and social media has been set up for those who have questions or concerns.

If you’re worried about whether you may have COVID-19 call the Utah Coronavirus Information Line at 1-800-456-7707.

When it comes to protecting yourself, the CDC advises the public to practice everyday preventive measures such as staying at home when you’re sick, avoiding contact with anyone who may be sick, cleaning frequently touched surfaces and thoroughly washing your hands.

Health officials say most people aren’t washing their hands long enough.

Related: EPA releases list of disinfectants to use against COVID-19 coronavirus

This can be done simply with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. We talked to Michele Vowles at the Salt Lake County Health Department about the proper way of washing your hands. And goes as follows (see the video):

  • Wet hands with water
  • Apply single shot of soap
  • Rub hands palm to palm
  • Rub back of each hand with the palm of other the hand with fingers interlaced
  • Rub palm to palm with fingers interlaced
  • Rub with backs of fingers to opposing palms with fingers interlocked
  • Rub each thumb clasped in opposite hand using rotational movement
  • Rub tips of fingers in opposite palm in circular motion
  • Rub each wrist with opposite hand
  • Rinse hands with water
  • Dry thoroughly

In regards to the public buying massive amounts of supplies at grocery stores, Vowles says “I think people are going to the extreme. It is good to have soap on hand because you want to wash your hands– and if you can’t wash your hands, hand sanitizer with 60 percent alcohol is a good second thing to do, but you don’t need to stock up on more than you need to.”

She also added, “Things like toilet paper, non-perishable food items, prescription meds should stock up on a 2 week supply in case you are asked to stay home to try and prevent the spread of the illness.”

There’s also been concerns about drinking tap water. While The Salt Lake Department of Public Utilities does recommend keeping a 4-day supply or bottled water as an emergency kit, they say “Drinking water from the tap is safe, reliable, economical, and meets or exceeds all federal and state safe drinking water standards.”

“In the case of quarantine or outbreak related to the coronavirus, public drinking water systems are designed to continuously deliver safe drinking water to your tap,” a tweet from the Utah Department of Environmental Quality stated.

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