Utah state health officials have addressed their efforts towards preventing a spread of the coronavirus.
“Everyday there are new announcements about it,” said Dr. Joseph Miner, the executive director of the Utah Department of Health.
Currently, there are no known cases in the state, but there are a growing number of cases mounting around the world. So, Utah leaders want to calm local concerns.
“We’ve activated our incident command center,” said Dr. Angela Dunn, a state epidemiologist. This is a way to coordinate a statewide response to a public health emergency.”
Health officials are working behind the scenes to prepare in the event cases pop up in our state.
“This type of work really doesn’t get the attention that it should, but make no mistake it is happening,” said Dunn. “Staff at the Utah Department of Health have logged over 900 hours in the past three weeks.”
So far, more than 800 people have died in China from the Wuhan Coronavirus strain. The deaths surpass the SARS death toll of 774 people. Both outbreaks started in China.
“We know that these measures taken with isolation of people who are ill, and quarantining those who’ve been exposed before they become ill,” said Dr. Miner. “This is effective. It got the SARs outbreak of 2003 under control.”
Leaders say as part of their preparation, they’re meeting with local groups that have ties to China.
“We’ve communicated to nearly 50 different community entities who have an interest in this response,” said Dunn. “Some of them host large events, and some of them are invested in the communities that could be at risk of the Novel Coronavirus.”
As part of their response, health officials are hosting multiple weekly calls with federal partners, health care providers and first responders.