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Utah Governor Declares State Of Emergency Amid Fears Of Coronavirus Outbreak

Photo of Utah Governor Gary Herbert speaking into a microphone
2018 pool photo
Salt Lake Tribune
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert on Friday signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency to help the state prepare for potential diagnoses of COVID-19.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert declared a state of emergency in response to the coronavirus on Friday.

Though no one has knowingly contracted the virus in Utah yet, the governor says their main focus is preparing for its arrival. 

“Issuing this declaration now allows us to take additional proactive steps that will make a big difference in how effectively we can respond once we start seeing COVID-19 diagnoses in Utah,” Herbert said in a press release. 

The emergency declaration also pointed to the fact that neighboring states were starting to see their first cases.

The loan patient to test positive for COVID-19 in Utah has been sent home to St. George. Mark Jorgensen contracted the disease while on vacation abroad and has been monitored at Intermountain Healthcare Facility since Feb. 25. 

The Utah Department of Health said he’s shown no symptoms and doesn’t pose a threat to the public, but he is on state issued quarantine until he tests negative for the virus two times.

State health officials are encouraging people to wash their hands more often and take other precautions to prevent its spread, like disinfecting shared surfaces and covering their coughs. Utah has also formed a coronavirus task force.

The fear of a virus outbreak has led to a run on stores for bottled water and other supplies. But the Utah Department of Environmental Quality has said there is no need to stock up on a surplus of bottled water since public drinking water systems can protect against water-borne viral infections — including coronavirus.

Photo of the executive order.
Credit Gov. Gary Herbert via Twitter
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert on Friday signed this executive order declaring a state of emergency in response to the coronavirus.

Ross Terrell is the managing editor at KUER.
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