What is community spread?

No handshakes

In Utah, the first confirmed cases of COVID-19 were all in patients who had recently traveled to areas with widespread transmission of novel coronavirus or who had close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19. That all changed Saturday.

A resident of Summit County has a confirmed case of COVID-19 but no history of travel or known contact with a person confirmed to have COVID-19. This is known as community spread. This is the first case of community transmission in Utah.

Generally, limiting community spread depends on everybody taking precautionary measures. That includes social distancing which means staying home when you are sick, practicing good hygiene to avoid sharing germs with others, limiting mass gatherings, etc. 

Public health officials are still asking the public to avoid going to hospitals and clinics for COVID-19 testing 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. Healthcare facilities report the high volume of visits from healthy people is affecting their ability to provide care for those truly in need.

The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to what someone may be experiencing as the result of seasonal influenza – fever, cough, or shortness of breath. These symptoms on their own are not worrisome and should not cause alarm. But if someone exhibits these symptoms who has recently traveled to areas with ongoing transmission of COVID-19 or has been in close contact with a known positive case, you should self-isolate and call your healthcare provider by telephone or use telehealth to find out what to do next.

Utah officials have taken proactive steps to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the community over the past few days. In particular, public schools have been dismissed for two weeks and any gathering that will have more than 100 healthy people.

In Summit County, health officials said the patient worked at the Spur Bar & Grill in Park City. Health officials have interviewed the patient and believe the biggest potential risk is to his co-workers. Anybody who visited the Spur since March 6 should monitor themselves for symptoms and call their medical provider or use telehealth if they feel sick.