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Utah Reports Its First COVID-19 Death

Photo of the Utah State Department of Health building.
Andrea Smardon
Utah Department of Health officials announced the state's first COVID-19 death on Sunday.

A Davis County man has died after testing positive for COVID-19, the Utah Department of Health announced Sunday. 

Department officials said he was at least 60-years-old and had underlying medical conditions. He had been hospitalized for two days before he died and tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday. 

Utah has 181 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Sunday afternoon. 

“Even though we knew some Utah residents would lose their lives to this illness, it is heartbreaking to announce this first death,” state epidemiologist Angela Dunn said in a statement. “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. We need all Utah residents to do their part in taking the necessary steps to limit the spread of this illness.” 

The Davis County Health Department is contacting people who may have had contact with the patient, and will ask those people to “quarantine or isolate as necessary,” according to a press release from the Utah Department of Health. 

“First and foremost, Jeanette and I want to express our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of this individual,” Gov. Gary Herbert said in a statement, referring to his wife, Jeanette 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.”

The state has recommended that Utahns limit mass gatherings to less than 10 people, and people who have tested positive for COVID-19 should self-isolate. The Department of Health has prohibited dining in at restaurants, although take-out and drive-thru are still allowed.

Sonja Hutson covers politics for KUER. Follow her on Twitter @SonjaHutson
Editor's note: This was page was updated at 1:36 p.m. on March 22 to update the number of positive COVID-19 cases in Utah.

Sonja Hutson is a politics and government reporter at KUER.
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