Health officials say Utah’s COVID-19 cases may peak in 2-3 weeks

News

MURRAY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Health officials in Utah are planning to build temporary hospitals at a few tight-lipped locations.

ABC4 News spoke with several doctors and health officials who mirror what Salt Lake County Health Department Emergency Manager Bob Jeppesen said, “In two or three weeks we are probably looking at the peak event with the number of, unfortunately, the number of deaths increasing and the number of COVID positive patients increasing as well. Then hopefully we can begin to trend downwards.”

COVID-19 Numbers from the Utah Department of Health on March 30th, 2020

Monday, the Utah Department of Health released new information showing 806 confirmed COVID-19 cases, four deaths, and over 16,003 tested.

COVID-19 Numbers from the Utah Department of Health on March 23rd, 2020

From March 23rd to March 30th, 549 people tested positive for COVID-19 according to UDOH officials. That’s roughly 78 people a day who came down with the virus.

In the time frame, the state’s data shows every area except Central Utah tested positive for a case of COVID-19.

The news isn’t stopping Utahns seen at area city parks.

“Need to keep that distance from other individuals, so we can control the spread of this disease,” said Jeppesen.

Jeppesen is one of the people working on temporary hospitals.

“Nothing has been decided yet,” he said. “It would probably be good to maybe start with some smaller facilities but have the space available where we could enlarge it as needed.”

Salt Lake County Health Department Emergency Manager Bob Jeppesen FaceTime’s with ABC4’s Jason Nguyen

One plan he is sharing would ease the stress of hospitals dealing with COVID-19 patients.

The other is called the PARC Plan. It’s short for Pandemic Assessment and Referral Center.

“We enact that plan when the hospital emergency departments run up the white flag and say we are completely overrun and we need help,” he said. “What we would do at that point, through a partnership with the media is, send out the message to Salt Lake County residents that we would open up this triage center and direct the public to come there first.”

The triage centers would look somewhat like the ones in King County, Washington. Their emergency management manager actually comes from the Salt Lake County Health Department.

Jeppesen said medical staff will evaluate a patient’s vitals and decided if they need to go to the hospital or not.

“We actually already had our plans developed and then looked at the documentation they forwarded to us, and we are hitting all the things that they did,” he added.

A punishable mandatory Stay-at-Home Order is in effect for Salt Lake, Summit, and Wasatch Counties. The rest of the state is urged to stay safe by staying home.

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