First COVID-19 case confirmed in Iron County, additional cases diagnosed in Washington County

Undated photo illustration | Photo by Bertrand Blay/iStock/Getty Inages Plus, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The Southwest Utah Health Department has announced the first case of a positive COVID-19 test in Iron County. In addition, three additional positive COVID-19 cases have been announced in Washington County.

Stock photo by Jarun/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

David Heaton, spokesperson for the health department, said that because of confidentiality, the exact location, ages and genders of the new cases are not being released, other than all Southern Utah cases are adults.

Heaton said more details on the demographics of those infected may be released later in the week, and he reiterated that the health department does have a policy of following up with a specialized team to ensure that as many people as possible who have had contact with those who test positive are being informed and told to self-quarantine.

As of right now, all of the cases appear travel-related as opposed to being spread locally. However, that may change as each case is looked at more thoroughly.

“It looks like travel-related,” Heaton said. “Further investigation might find person-to-person spread. We won’t be surprised by that.”

The additional cases bring the total in Washington County to five individuals with the COVID-19 virus, with the one in Iron County making a total of six in Southern Utah. The first positive test in Southern Utah was announced on Saturday.

The total number of COVID-19 cases in the state went up by 76 in the last 24 hours – from 181 to 257.

A Co-Diagnostics COVID-19 testing kit is pictured in Salt Lake City, Utah on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. | Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred/The Deseret News via Associated Press, St. George News

Along with announcing the new cases, the health department is putting out an alert advising that any person in Southern Utah who travels outside the area should take the extra precautions that were previously reserved for those who traveled internationally.

“We are encouraging people who have traveled in any form, including outside their community, that they practice strict social distancing and trying to stay home for a few weeks,” Heaton said.

He added that anyone who experiences the symptoms of a COVID-19 infection – which include a dry cough, fever, headache, shortness of breath and lack of taste and smell – should call their health care professional.

Additional testing is becoming available locally, Heaton said, which may be playing a role in the rising numbers, but he said it’s not the only cause.

“More testing is being done, and the natural cycle of the virus is spreading it here,” Heaton said. “It’s likely both.”

COVID-19 information resources

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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