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SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake Health Department announced nine new cases of COVID-19 in Salt Lake County Saturday night. That brings the total in Salt Lake County alone to 14 cases.
The Salt Lake Health Department said 11 of those cases are adults over the age of 18 and three are children. Two of the children attended Hunter High School in West Valley City and Entheos Academy, a charter school with campuses in Magna and Kearns, while symptomatic. Both school communities have been notified of the potential exposure to the virus.
Students and staff of both schools have been instructed to self-quarantine at home until March 27.
The University of Utah tweeted stating one of its community members tested positive for the virus. The individual is an employee at the Counseling Center at the Student Services Building, however, they did not have any contact with students or visit the Counseling Center due to spring break. They are now self-isolating off-campus, according to the University's website.
2nd case in Davis County
A second COVID-19 case was also confirmed Saturday night in Davis County. The individual is an adult between the ages of 18 and 60, according to the Davis County Health Department.
Prior to becoming ill, the patient traveled out of the county and was notified of their potential exposure to a confirmed case during that travel, a news release from the health department says.
"This person and their family should be commended for doing what is best for the entire community," the release says. "Because of quick self-quarantine and social distancing actions taken, they ensured this exposure to COVID-19 would not spread further in our community."
The health department said due to efforts made by the individual, along with their family, no close contacts have been identified, no public venues were affected and there is no risk to other Davis County residents "in relation to this case."
By the numbers
With the addition of the new Salt Lake County and Davis County cases, Utah’s total number of in-state cases of coronavirus hit 19. The state's official coronavirus website shows the breakdown: two in Davis County, 14 in Salt Lake County, two in Summit County and one in Weber-Morgan County.
The website also indicates there are five additional cases of coronavirus in the state, but these are out-of-state residents and their cases don’t contribute to the official state total.
Earlier Saturday, the Utah Department of Health announced that a new case of COVID-19 in Summit County marks the first instance of community spread of the disease in Utah.
Community spread means the source of the infection is unknown; previously diagnosed cases of the novel coronavirus in Utah were from residents who had recently traveled to impacted areas.
The patient is a male Summit County resident between ages 18 and 60, the Health Department announced in a news release. He had "no history of travel and no known contact with any person who has been confirmed to have COVID-19," the release says.
"The patient is an employee at the Spur Bar and Grill, and did report to work while he was symptomatic," it says. "Public health officials have interviewed the patient and believe the biggest potential risk is to his co-workers. The man’s job at the bar did not require him to interact for extended periods of time with customers."
In a Saturday-morning press conference, Summit County Health Department executive director Dr. Rich Bullough said the patient was working at the door of the bar. Bullough said he doesn't believe patrons of the bar are at "high risk; " health officials are more concerned about employees who were in a meeting with their co-worker earlier in the day. Those workers are being tested.
Still, anyone who visited the bar since March 6 should monitor themselves for symptoms like fever, cough and shortness of breath, Bullough said.
Officials said the bar closed last night and conducted a thorough cleaning.
Health officials also reminded residents not to report to clinics or hospitals if symptoms aren't present. "Instead, use telehealth or call your healthcare provider to find out if testing is necessary so that hospitals, clinics, and ERs and not overloaded," their news release said.
We now have a known case of community spread of COVID-19. Following the social distancing procedures we introduced this week will help slow viral spread - so will practicing good hygiene and staying home when you are sick. Use common sense, and take care of each other. https://t.co/LaYrgu9lmg— Gov. Gary Herbert (@GovHerbert) March 14, 2020
Utah state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn said at the press conference that the state has been "expecting this development and preparing for" a case of community spread.
"The COVID-19 task force has taken significant steps this week to limit community interactions," she said, "and we want to reinforce the importance of the community following these recommendations."