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EMS Crew In Isolation, Hospital Protocols Among Updates To Wasatch County Council On Monday

Wasatch County Health Department

At their Monday evening special meeting members of the Wasatch County Council heard reports from local health officials. The council heard about self-isolated EMS workers, county numbers, and protocols for the hospital.

At the Monday evening Wasatch County Council special meeting the council heard an update from EMS Director Clair Provost. Provost said that first responders are taking extra precaution wearing personal protective equipment when responding to calls. A new precaution EMS is taking is asking those who have the ability to transport themselves to the hospital to do so.


"We're getting a lot of calls for sick people, and we have transported a fair amount,” Provost continued. “But moving forward, we're going to request that they self-transport, or have a (family) member self-transport. We will not refuse transport if they cannot do that, but that's a request.”


Provost says that it’s a huge process to decontaminate an ambulance. The county EMS is already down a crew after an ambulance transported a person with COVID-19 last Friday. The crew members are in isolation and monitoring symptoms. They are slated to take tests on Wednesday and Saturday, if those tests come back negative, they will be cleared to work again.


Council also heard from the Intermountain Heber Valley Hospital Administrator Si Hutt. Hutt emphasized that those with mild symptoms should self-isolate and call the coronavirus hotline. Hutt said for those cleared to take a test Intermountain has set up drive through testing at the hospital, where additional protocols are in place.


"We're very capable of taking care of COVID-19 patients that are stable,” Hutt explained. “However, we have made a decision that if somebody is presenting with likely COVID-19 symptoms, we’ll make sure their stable and then transfer them to a hospital that is seeing routinely COVID-19 patients. That's primarily to protect our staff and reduce the amount of exposure that our staff has so that we can ensure that we’re able to provide all the services that the community needs.”


Hutt added that policy may change eventually. Many people have been asking how they can help the hospital; Hutt says they’ll let the public know when and how they can help as the situation progresses. Right now, Intermountain is accepting suitable donations of personal protective equipment from businesses.


County Health Department Director Randall Probst emphasized limiting gatherings to 10 people and within those groups' individuals should maintain about six feet between themselves and others. Probst also reinforced the idea that any form of discretionary travel is discouraged and that some at-risk groups are supposed to avoid contact with anyone.


"Each individual who is over the age of 60 or who is immunocompromised, should avoid contact with any other individual except to receive critical assistance,” Probst said. “So, if you got a caregiver, that helps feed you and take care of you and some of those kinds of things, there are exceptions to that. But generally speaking, that's how (Governor Herbert’s) put it as a recommendation. That's why I've suggested again, start thinking how you can do most of what you need to do if you fit that category remotely.”


Probst also said the quarantine order for Wasatch High Students remains in effect through Wednesday the 25th, with students able to return to the new normal of practicing social distancing once the quarantine is over, provided students aren’t symptomatic. Probst said they’ve had no new student cases since the first case was discovered last week.


"Probably the most frequent question I'm getting is, ‘are we about over this?’ I think clearly the answer is no,” Probst continued. “A lot of people come to work thinking that maybe things would get a little more relaxed, and that maybe we're on the downhill. That's clearly not the case. In fact, we're rising fairly rapidly. I think we need to be more vigilant even now in these weeks ahead and continue with that physical distancing.”


Wasatch County was at a total of 12 cases, 11 residents and one visitor Monday evening. Probst said five cases have been linked to travel, three or four cases are related to cases elsewhere in Utah and the other four cases appear to be linked to community spread. One case has been hospitalized.

KPCW reporter David Boyle covers all things in the Heber Valley as well as sports and breaking news.
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