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First Utahn confirmed to have coronavirus, receiving treatment in Japanese hospital

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SALT LAKE CITY — A Tooele County man who has been quarantined aboard a cruise ship has been confirmed to have coronavirus, making him the first known Utahn to be infected amid the outbreak.

“John has tested Positive for the Corona Virus!” his wife, Melanie Haering posted on Facebook Thursday night (Friday afternoon in Japan). “He does not have a fever and feels no symptoms. There is no treatment only a waiting game til the virus subsides. He gets tested again in 48 hours and if it’s positive again, he waits another 48 hours for another test. If that test is negative, he gets tested in 24 hrs and if two tests in a row come up negative he is free to leave.”

John Haering was taken the night before to a hospital about an hour away from where the cruise ship is docked after suffering flu-like symptoms for about three days, according to his wife. Melanie Haering remains quarantined on the ship, where she and other passengers have been confined since Jan. 6. In Facebook posts she described her husband’s symptoms as including a fever, nausea and a rash, “like a heavy case of the flu.”

In a text to the Deseret News Wednesday night, before John Haering’s test came back positive, Melanie Haering said her husband had just left for the hospital and she wondered why he wasn’t swabbed when he first developed a fever on Monday.

“We got a call from one of the ship’s medical teams, and they have decided to transport John to a hospital,” Melanie Haering said in a Facebook post about 1 a.m. Thursday, which was Thursday evening in Japan. “I have no idea which one he will be at. Even though he felt better, he needs the proper care to find out about this virus. It’s hard being separated from him, and as soon as I hear more information, I will pass it on. We appreciate the overwhelming love and prayers that have been offered on our behalf. Believe me, we can feel them.”

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Amy Donaldson


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