MURRAY (ABC4 News) – Intermountain Healthcare officials held a news conference Thursday evening to address a flood of “worried well” people seeking testing for coronavirus or COVID-19.
Intermountain officials said their emergency departments, instacares, and other clinics are seeing a surge in people seeking care for COVID-19 who are not sick.
Intermountain officials say these people are overwhelming the health system by seeking information and testing and impacting the ability of clinicians to properly care for patients who are in need.
Dr. Eddie Stenehjem with the Intermountain Medical Center Infectious Disease Department said testing for coronavirus is limited.
“Unfortunately, at this time, we can’t test everybody. We can’t test people that are asymptomatic or people that are not at particularly high risk for this disease,” said Stenehjem.
Health officials made it clear, they understand the concern but are asking people not to go to hospitals and clinics for COVID-19 testing if symptoms such as cough, fever or shortness of breath are not present. If you do have these symptoms, stay home, call your healthcare provider and they will tell you how to proceed.
“This is a respiratory virus. This is a virus transmitted through virus particles in large droplets of liquid. Those droplets are generated with coughing and sneezing and lands on things like this podium, door handles and then we go by and we touch it and then we touch our mouths or our eyes and we get infected with the virus,” said Stenehjem.
So far, health officials report they have yet to identify a case of community spread in Utah, and the state remains low-risk. Health officials anticipate that to change and expect community transmission in the coming days to weeks, but they urge the public not t panic—just prepare.
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“Our life is going to be disrupted because we need to focus on the health of the community,” said Stenehejem. “We are asking people to limit social gatherings, especially those gatherings that are greater than 100 people. We want people to avoid going to social gatherings to mitigate the transmission of the virus.”