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Central Utah has 25 cases,

but starts to loosen some guidelines

 

By Robert Stevens

Managing editor

5-07-2020

 

The Central Utah Public Health Department (CUPHD) has reported 25 confirmed cases of COVID-19, but things are looking up as the state begins its rollout of loosening public health guidelines.

Two additional cases confirmed over the weekend brought the numbers up to 25—one in Sanpete County and one in Sevier County.

According to Nate Selin, CUPHD director, the new Sanpete County case was likely a community transmission exposure. The case is between the ages of 65-84 and has been hospitalized outside the health district. The case has had limited contact with other individuals, said CUPHD officials.

This brings the total number of confirmed cases in Sanpete County to six, four of which have been recovered and released from quarantine, according to the CUPHD.

Sevier County had a new case as well, bringing the total confirmed number of cases to seven, five of which have recovered and been released from isolation. The new case is between the ages of 25-44, but according to the CUPHD, was never symptomatic and did have some contact within the community that could lead to community spread.

As of Tuesday, Juab and Sevier counties both have seven confirmed cases. Sanpete has six. Millard has five. Piute and Wayne still have zero confirmed cases.

“Total cases across the state continue to increase,” said Selin in a CUPHD update. “However, the incidence rate of those tested is continuing to drop and is now down to about 4.3 percent. This is good news and shows less sustained spread and community spread throughout the state. Our numbers locally are still low in both total numbers and incidence rate of those tested.”

With areas of the state beginning to “soft open” according to the governor’s plan, the CUPHD is working on adjustments to district guidelines.

“We continue to work with our local businesses regarding the move to the “Moderate Risk” (Orange) phase of the Governor’s plan,” said Selin in the update. “In some cases this risk change has become stricter than where we previously were.”

CUPHD officials say they have recommended many measures to businesses over the past month as opposed to mandating orders and closing them down.

“Businesses have responded well in the best interest of the health and safety of their employees and customers,” Selin said in the update. “With the phase change, some of the things that our local businesses have been doing voluntarily have now been formalized into orders, so we are working through these with the businesses to address the action from the state.”

CUPHD officials say they will be able to start conducting more tests this week in rural areas, thanks to test supplies sent from the state. So far, 1528 people in total have been tested across Sevier, Sanpete, Millard, Juab, Piute and Wayne counties.

Looking ahead to the future, preparations are under way for when guidelines can be loosened even further.

“In discussions with the state, we are looking at the guidelines for the low risk (yellow) phase designation to make adjustments to those to improve consistency,” said Selin. “There has been some talk of this being a possibility statewide by the end of the month or possibly sooner. This will depend a lot on caseloads and new cases of COVID-19 over the next couple of weeks across the state.”

The second group of 50 IHC volunteers—physicians, physician assistants, nurses, repertory therapist and other professionals—who worked in New York City for two weeks, alongside professional counterparts there, included three from Sanpete Valley Hospital: Shelly Wood and Aaron Wood (kneeling in front on the left), and Trina Johnson (standing on a riser in the back row above the letter “a” in the banner.)

Healthcare Heroes

Sanpete professionals experience pandemic in New York

 

By Doug Lowe

Staff writer

5-07-2020

 

MT. PLEASANT—Three healthcare professionals from the Sanpete Valley Hospital learned about “heroism” on a volunteer trip to battle the new coronavirus pandemic in New York City.

The three staff members joined with other IHC professionals to experience an intense two-weeks of work in New York City hospitals helping patients with COVID-19.

Trina Johnson, flight nurse, Shelly Wood, RN, and her husband Aaron Wood, the hospital’s CEO, all flew to NYC on April 16 and gained invaluable experience with the virus before returning to Salt Lake on May 2.

Johnson explains a small part of her experience in these words, “Before I left for New York people told me I was a ‘hero’ and ‘selfless.’ After working in New York for two weeks, I realized that the true heroes were the healthcare professionals working in New York during the pandemic.”

Likewise, Shelly Wood talks of cheering, led by members of the NY Fire Dept., every night at 7 p.m. for the “healthcare heroes” entering and leaving their jobs at New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

“The cheering brought tears to my eyes every night that I stepped out there, into the street at the end of my shift,” she recalls.

Shelly’s husband, Aaron says his experience as he observed the work of administrators in various New York hospitals will certainly help him do a better job back here in Sanpete Valley.

Immediately after landing on their return to Utah, the three went directly to IHC’s Employee Services Center in Murray to be tested for any sign of the coronavirus, as well as having blood drawn to antibodies. All three tested negative for the virus, and await the results of their blood work. They are also checking their temperatures twice daily and watching for any other virus symptoms. After seven days back in Utah, they will be tested again; with a final test being administered once they have been back 14 days.

Trina Johnson says, “Being in New York was surreal. It was an experience I will be forever grateful that I got to experience.”

Shelly Wood is interviewed on the work Intermountain Healthcare volunteers accomplished in New York City as part of a volunteer COVID-19 response team that flew to the metropolis to assist with the pandemic.

 

 

 

 

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