Utah (ABC4 News) – Utah Public Health Officials report the first COVID-19 transmission in a care facility Saturday.

According to officials with The Utah Department of Health, UDOH and the Salt Lake County Health Department six of seven symptomatic patients at a Salt Lake City nursing facility have tested positive for COVID-19.

The first patient diagnosed has been hospitalized since Friday, March 27, officials say.

They said the first diagnosis initiated an investigation into the facility. Since then, one patient passed away on April 2, 2020, a female aged 85+, and three of the other patients are currently hospitalized, officials add.

They said two staff members have also tested positive.

All remaining facility residents are isolated in their rooms and nursing staff is following the CDC’s recommended safety precautions to treat them, officials said. Test results are pending on the remaining residents and those who test negative for COVID-19 will be transferred to another facility, officials add.

As a result of the outbreak, the affected facility will now become a COVID-19 only facility. The facility has 34 beds and will admit only COVID-19 patients who no longer require hospital-level care.

“An important part of the public health response is ensuring the health and safety of vulnerable populations, such as those living in long-term care facilities,” said Dr. Allyn Nakashima, Healthcare-Associated Infections/Antibiotic Resistance (HAI/AR) Program Manager for the Utah Department of Health. “We’ve worked hard with our partners at local health departments to ensure these types of facilities are aware of the steps they can take to limit the spread of COVID-19 among residents.”

The following are UDOH investigation and prevention measures recommended and implemented by the facility:

·      Notification of possibly exposed hospice workers and facility staff to monitor closely for symptoms. If symptoms develop, they are to remain excluded from work and to immediately report symptoms to public health for testing as needed

·      Provided training, signage, and guidance tools for staff

·      Implement social distancing and prevention measures with residents and vendors

·      Planning for additional testing and outbreak response if it becomes necessary

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