Two businesses in Utah County did not follow COVID-19 restrictions resulting in 68 positive cases, according to a statement from Utah County leaders. The businesses are in two separate areas of the county and are not public-facing. About half of the employees at one of the businesses have tested positive for the virus.
Business leaders told employees not to follow quarantine guidelines after being exposed to a confirmed COVID-19 case and required employees who tested positive, to still report to work, Utah County leaders said.
“Businesses need to not only allow but encourage their employees to stay home when they are ill,” Dr. Angela Dunn said during a news briefing Wednesday.
These cases are disturbing, Utah County Commissioner Chair Tanner Ainge said. People who are only focused on the economic impacts of COVID-19 need to understand the health aspect is directly connected, he said.
“There are human costs because of the direct exposure to the virus on the health side, and there are human costs related to economic lockdown and isolation. And these examples jeopardize the progress we’ve been making in both fronts,” Ainge said.
If there are more instances like this, Utah County will not be able to re-open, Ainge said.
“We are at the orange level right now, the governor or the state department of health may not allow us to go to yellow or green and they may even turn us back to red if there are a few bad actors like this that ruin it for everyone,“ he said.
The names of the businesses are not being released, but the health department ensures these businesses were not public-facing. The businesses were found through contact tracing by the health department.
“When we do contract tracing after we interview the person who has the disease, we find out specifically who their contacts are and we identify the actual person or people who have been exposed and we contact those people,” Lisa Guerra, Utah County Dept. of Health Epidemiology Program Manager, said.
The Utah County Health Department is unable to monitor every business, Guerra said, but they do investigate businesses that have complaints. People should not be afraid to come forward if they notice a business not follow Covid-19 guidelines, Guerra said, they will keep the person anonymous.