On Tuesday afternoon Bear River Health Department announced the first case of COVID-19 confirmed in Box Elder County.
The person is a male under the age of 60, and he has been hospitalized, Utah Department of Health state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn said at a press conference Tuesday afternoon.
This case now adds to the total confirmed cases in Utah as the Utah Department of Health officials confirmed on Tuesday there are now a total of 41 detected cases of the disease in Utah residents, with another 10 cases in visitors in the state.
These numbers only reflect the number of cases where a test has been taken and the virus has been detected, a number which naturally lags behind the total number of people with the virus. As tests become more widely available, however, health officials will have a better idea of where the virus is and how it is spreading. In the meantime, people are being asked to wash hands frequently, especially before touching your face, and practice "social distancing," including avoiding public gatherings.
Due to the length of time it takes to confirm a positive COVID-19 test, BRHD Public Information Officer Holly Budge said they are waiting on the exact number of tests taken so far.
"While testing is limited, we need to make sure we are being careful with our resources," Budge said.
Budge said if people are experiencing light symptoms, the BRHD recommends self-isolation. By calling the Utah Coronavirus Information Line at 1-800-456-7707 or a health care provider, people who are concerned are able to ask questions and see if they meet the specific criteria that must be met in order to be tested for the virus.
"If people feel well enough to stay home and self-isolate, that is a great option," Budge said. "If their symptoms are more severe and you need that next level of care, then that is when they need to be considered for testing and need to be connected with telehealth."
According to the BRHD website, in order to be tested, along with experiencing the a fever, cough and shortness of breath, a person must have either traveled to an area with ongoing spread or had close contact with someone with COVID-19.
"We would like to remind the community that most people with COVID-19 experience only mild illness but as a community, we must slow the spread of this disease,” stated Lloyd Berentzen, director of the BRHD, in the press release on Tuesday afternoon. “I urge the public to PLEASE practice social distancing. Do not gather in groups of more than 10 people. If you are sick, STAY HOME. Wash your hands frequently. Avoid touching your face. Sneeze or cough into a tissue or the inside of your elbow and disinfect frequently used items and surfaces as much as possible. We are confident that with your help, we will get through this difficult public health emergency.”
The BRHD south location in Logan, 635 S. 100 East, closed on Tuesday afternoon and will remain closed until further notice. Budge said this action was taken in an effort to best utilize staff and resources during this time.
The Utah Department of Health live streams its COVID-19 daily media briefing on Facebook.