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Utah Department of Health confirms the state's first COVID-19 related death

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Posted at 12:49 PM, Mar 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-22 21:09:39-04

DAVIS COUNTY, Utah — The Utah Department of Health on Sunday confirmed the first death as a result of coronavirus in Utah.

The patient was identified only as a male over the age of 60 from Davis County who was being treated at Lakeview Hospital. He had underlying medical conditions and was hospitalized two days prior to his death, health officials said.

“Even though we knew some Utah residents would lose their lives to this illness it is heartbreaking to announce this first death. We share in this family’s grief and are deeply committed to doing all we can to ensure the health and safety of our community,” said Dr. Angela Dunn, UDOH state epidemiologist. “We need all Utah residents to do their part in taking the necessary steps to limit the spread of this illness.”

Health officials said the patient tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday. The Davis County Health Department was working to identify and contact anyone who may have been in close contact with the patient.

“Our hearts go out to the family at this difficult time,” said Lakeview Hospital CEO Troy Wood. "The family followed the proper steps by calling the hospital prior to arrival to inform us of the patient’s possible COVID-19 diagnosis. Lakeview staff met the patient in the parking lot in full protective gear and escorted the patient inside, limiting possible exposure.”

“First and foremost, Jeanette and I want to express our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of this individual,” said Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert. “The pain this family must be feeling right now puts into perspective the sacrifices we are all making to keep one another safe and healthy. We encourage everyone to do their part by practicing safe health practices, including social distancing.”

From the Utah Department of Health:

The symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough, or shortness of breath. If someone exhibits these symptoms and has been in close contact with a known positive COVID-19 case, that individual should immediately call their health care provider, who will coordinate with the patient to determine the appropriate next steps.

There is currently no vaccine or treatment available for COVID-19. The UDOH recommends taking preventive actions to stop the spread of germs including regular hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or an elbow, and staying home when you’re sick.