MURRAY, Utah (ABC4 News) – A Utah man who was a passenger on a quarantined cruise ship and tested positive for coronavirus or COVID-19 will be treated at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray.
Mark Jorgensen, a resident of St. George, arrived at Intermountain Healthcare facilities Friday evening. He is one of the hundreds of American passengers who were quarantined on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan.
Jorgensen was under a second round of quarantine at Travis Air Force Base in Sacramento, Calif. when he tested positive for the virus.
Intermountain Healthcare said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requested Intermountain provide care for Jorgensen. Intermountain infectious disease physician Dr. Todd Vento said Jorgensen requested to be closer to home while he continues to be monitored for symptoms.
While he did test positive for the virus, Vento emphasized Jorgensen has never had any symptoms. Jorgensen reported to health officials that he felt “perfectly normal.”
Intermountain said Jorgensen will be treated at Intermountain Medical Center in a special unit that’s separate from the hospital and designed for high-level isolation. It’s a self-contained unit with its own entrances and independent water and air filtration. Vento said it was specifically designed to care for emerging infections diseases such as COVID-19.
Intermountain Medical Center will care for Jorgensen until all tests are negative for COVID-19. Jorgensen’s wife, Jerri, who tested positive for the virus before he did, remains in Japan for treatment. Mark reported that she received her first negative test.
“Caring for this patient in this setting is not a public health threat. Intermountain will continue to work closely with the CDC and Utah Department of Health to address this issue and take every precaution to keep the patient, our caregivers, and the community safe,” said Intermountain in a statement Friday.
Dr. Angela Dunn the State Epidemiologist at Utah Department of Health said the risk to Utahns for COVID-19 “still remains low.”
Dunn said so far, the state has tested 11 patients for COVID-19, and all have tested negative. There are currently four pending tests.
Dunn wanted to remind the public that the risk factors for acquiring COVID-19 included travel to mainland China, South Korea and to a lesser extent Japan, Italy, and Iran. Patients with the virus have symptoms of fever, cough, shortness of breath.
Prevention measures for COVID-19 are the same as the flu, Dunn said. You should stay home if you’re sick, use good hand hygiene, don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth, and if you have to cough or sneeze, do it into your elbow.