Utah Public Health Officials Report First Incident of COVID-19 Transmission in a Care Facility

(Salt Lake City, UT) – The Utah Department of Health (UDOH), along with the Salt Lake County Health Department (SLCoHD), today announced six of seven symptomatic patients at a Salt Lake City nursing facility have tested positive for COVID-19. The first patient to be diagnosed has been hospitalized since Friday, March 27, 2020. That event initiated the investigation into the facility. Since then, one patient passed away on April 2, 2020 (a female aged 85+), and three of the other patients are currently hospitalized. Two staff members have also tested positive for COVID-19.

Currently, all of the remaining residents are isolated in their rooms and nursing staff is following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended safety precautions while caring for them. Test results are pending on the remaining residents and those who test negative for COVID-19 will be transferred to another facility.

As a result of the outbreak, the affected facility will now become a COVID-19 only facility. The small, 34 bed facility, will admit only COVID-19 patients who no longer require hospital-level care.

As an additional precaution, members of the Healthcare-Associated Infections Team from the Utah Department of Health were brought in to assist with the investigation, perform a facility assessment, and offer guidance for additional prevention activities. “An important part of the public health response is ensuring the health and safety of vulnerable populations, such as those living in long-term care facilities,” said Dr. Allyn Nakashima, Healthcare-Associated Infections/Antibiotic Resistance (HAI/AR) Program Manager for the Utah Department of Health. “We’ve worked hard with our partners at local health departments to ensure these types of facilities are aware of the steps they can take to limit the spread of COVID-19 among residents.”

Investigation and prevention measures recommended by the UDOH, and implemented by the facility include:

  • Notification of possibly exposed hospice workers and facility staff to monitor closely for symptoms. If symptoms develop, they are to remain excluded from work and to immediately report symptoms to public health for testing as needed.
  • Provided training, signage, and guidance tools for staff.
  • Implement social distancing and prevention measures with residents and vendors.
  • Planning for additional testing and outbreak response if it becomes necessary.

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