SALT LAKE CITY — Utah has its second case of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, authorities said Tuesday.
The female patient lives in the Weber-Morgan health district and is older than 60, according to the Utah Department of Health.
She is currently in serious but stable condition at McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden, according to UDOH. As of Tuesday morning, she was stable and doing well, UDOH state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn said.
“We are working closely with the local health dept. and monitoring closely,” Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, who is leading the Utah Coronavirus Task Force, tweeted Tuesday. “Our thoughts are with the family this morning and praying for a speedy recovery.”
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert echoed Cox’s words, saying that UDOH is already contacting high-risk individuals that the woman diagnosed Tuesday may have exposed to the coronavirus.
“We wish this patient and their family the very best,” Herbert tweeted.
Cox said when someone is diagnosed with the disease, local health officials meet with the person and retrace their steps. They make a record of all the places the person has been recently and all the people he or she may have come in contact with.
Cox said the woman diagnosed Tuesday was traveling outside the U.S. and contracted the disease outside of Utah. The woman had recently traveled to Florida, Nevada and the Bahamas, according to Dunn. She was on a boat that went to the Bahamas, but it was not a cruise ship.
The woman had some respiratory symptoms and sought care very quickly after she returned to Utah earlier this month, Dunn said.
This is the second Utah case of the disease officials have announced after a Davis County resident tested positive for COVID-19 last week. St. George man Mark Jorgensen, who has since tested negative for COVID-19, was treated in Utah for the disease but contracted it elsewhere.
We just announced the 2nd positive case of COVID-19 in the state of Utah. We are working closely with the local health dept. and monitoring closely. Our thoughts are with the family this morning and praying for a speedy recovery. https://t.co/dbZJWX9ky8
— Spencer Cox (@SpencerJCox) March 10, 2020
There is no connection between the patient in Davis County and the woman diagnosed Tuesday, according to Dunn. There is also no sign that the disease has spread to other people from either of those patients, she added.
Officials are still expecting to see community spread of COVID-19 in Utah but that has not happened yet, Dunn said. The risk of Utahns contracting the disease remains low, according to the health department.
A sample from the woman in the Weber-Morgan health district was tested at the Utah Public Health Laboratory and is presumed positive. The sample will be sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for further testing to confirm the result, which federal officials require, Dunn said.
UDOH and the Weber-Morgan Health Department in Ogden are working to identify and contact anyone who might have come in contact with the woman who was diagnosed with the disease. Once identified, health officials will monitor those people for fever and respiratory symptoms.
As of Tuesday, health officials had identified three people at a high risk for COVID-19 who came in contact with the woman, Dunn said. All three tested negative for the disease and no one who came in contact with either Utah COVID-19 patient has tested positive for the disease so far, Dunn said.
Health officials had administered just under 100 COVID-19 tests as of Tuesday, Dunn added. About 200 people in Utah are being actively monitored for the disease, including people who have recently returned to the state from China, Iran or a cruise, she said. Specimens are taken daily from people who test positive for the disease until they test negative, she said.
Both the Davis County person and the woman diagnosed Tuesday are over the age of 60, according to Cox.
Health officials announced Monday that the Davis County patient attended BYU’s basketball game against Gonzaga on Feb. 22. Officials believe the likelihood that other people at the game contracted the disease from that person is low, and the person did not rush the court at the game, Dunn said.
Anyone who is age 60 or older and has an underlying or chronic health condition should be exercising extreme caution right now, Cox said. Those are the people who are most likely to be affected by the disease.
Sick people also should not be visiting people over the age of 60 who might be at a high risk for the disease, because that population needs to be protected, Dunn said.
She recommended that people take note of the CDC’s travel restrictions and refrain from any nonessential travel to countries the CDC advises against visiting. The virus can survive on surfaces for up to two days, so hand hygiene is very important in preventing the spread of the disease, Dunn said.
For more information, visit coronavirus.utah.gov.
Contributing: Debbie Dujanovic and Dave Noriega, KSL NewsRadio; Liesl Nielsen, KSL.com
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