Outbreak at local businesses poses low risk to public, says health department

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A truck pulls up to a COVID-19 testing site near Intermountain Utah Valley Clinic on May 7. Intermountain Healthcare is conducting mobile testing in Orem and Provo after an outbreak of COVID-19 due to two local businesses disregarding safety guidelines. (Preston Crawley)

An outbreak of COVID-19 cases at two separate Utah County businesses poses very little risk to the public, according to Carrie Bennet, a chronic disease prevention program manager for the Utah County Health Department.

Both businesses disregarded social distancing guidelines and allowed employees who tested positive for COVID-19 to remain working resulting in 68 new cases and for one of the businesses, 48% of its employees, according to a Utah County statement posted on Facebook on May 4.

Neither business conducted direct interactions with the public, said Bennett. “Risk to the public from these businesses is generally low,” she said.

The department is working with employees from both businesses, and Bennett said they were able to contain the outbreak. For this reason, Bennett said they have chosen not to release the names of the two businesses.

The health department identified “hot spots” for the virus based on zip codes 84606 in Provo and 84057 in Orem. They provide a map on their website showing the exact geographic area.

People living within these two zip codes are encouraged to get tested and go to TestUtah.com to determine whether getting tested in necessary.

The website provides a voluntary survey that assesses possible symptoms, proximity to people who have tested positive in the last two weeks, if you’ve been tested and if you are a healthcare worker.

After completing the test, an email is sent that details the next steps a person should take. Those not experiencing symptoms are encouraged to practice social distancing and do daily checkups using a link that is emailed daily after taking the initial test.

Utah Valley Hospital has mobile testing set up through Friday that is free and doesn’t require insurance.

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