Utah Department of Health announces first COVID-19 death

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) and Mountainstar HCA announced the state’s first COVID-19-related death Sunday.

At the time of their death, UDOH officials say the patient was being treated at Lakeview Hospital. The patient is a male, was older than 60 and was a resident of Davis County. He had underlying medical conditions and was hospitalized for two days prior to his death.  

“First and foremost, Jeanette and I want to express our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of this individual,” said Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert. “The pain this family must be feeling right now puts into perspective the sacrifices we are all making to keep one another safe and healthy. We encourage everyone to do their part by practicing safe health practices, including social distancing.”

“Our hearts go out to the family at this difficult time,” said Lakeview Hospital CEO Troy Wood. We also want to express great appreciation to the health care workers for their diligence in caring for this patient and adhering to the necessary precautions to limit any possible exposure. The family followed the proper steps by calling the hospital prior to arrival to inform us of the patient’s possible COVID-19 diagnosis. Lakeview staff met the patient in the parking lot in full protective gear and escorted the patient inside, limiting possible exposure.”

The patient tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday, and the Davis County Health Department (DCHD) is working to identify and contact anyone who may have been in close contact with the patient. These individuals will be asked to quarantine or isolate as necessary and will be monitored by public health for fever and respiratory symptoms, according to UDOH officials.

“Even though we knew some Utah residents would lose their lives to this illness it is heartbreaking to announce this first death. We share in this family’s grief and are deeply committed to doing all we can to ensure the health and safety of our community,” said Dr. Angela Dunn, UDOH state epidemiologist. “We need all Utah residents to do their part in taking the necessary steps to limit the spread of this illness.”

The UDOH strongly encourages all Utah residents to follow the recommendations made in its recent Public Health Order. Specifically:
• Any individual who exhibits any symptom of illness consistent with COVID-19 should withdraw from or be excluded from any physical social event or gathering.
• Avoid social gatherings or events of more than 10 people.
• If an individual has tested positive for COVID-19, each member of the individual’s household should self-isolate.
• Anyone over the age of 60 or who is immunocompromised should avoid contact with any other individual except to receive critical assistance.
• Everyone should avoid discretionary travel, gymnasiums, shopping trips (other than shopping for food and other essentials), and social visits.

“Our hearts go out to the family of the patient who died as well as the families of the people who are being affected by this outbreak. The health of the residents, staff, and community we serve is our top priority,” said Brian Hatch, health officer from the DCHD. “We will work with healthcare professionals to support the care of the patients, the safety of the healthcare workers, and the well-being of the people in the surrounding community.”

The symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough, or shortness of breath. If someone exhibits these symptoms and has been in close contact with a known positive COVID-19 case, that individual should immediately call their health care provider, who will coordinate with the patient to determine the appropriate next steps.

There is currently no vaccine or treatment available for COVID-19. UDOH recommends taking preventive actions to stop the spread of germs including regular hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or an elbow, and staying home when you’re sick.

More information about novel coronavirus can be found at coronavirus.utah.gov or at cdc.gov/coronavirus.


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