State Department of Health COVID-19 Updates, Press Conf., Monday, March 23

Mar 23, 2020

Confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Utah are now at 257 people and over 5,000 have been reportedly tested. 

State epidemiologist Angela Dunn said during the press conference on Monday that the increase is happening at a steady, expected rate. 

Dunn also said that Utahns need to accept social distancing measures as a way of life for the next several months.

"We are in this for the long haul," she said.

During the press conference, many questions and concerns were raised regarding the large gathering to welcome home missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the Salt Lake City airport on  Sunday evening. 

"We haven't identified any spread related to that gathering," Dunn said. "Those types of gatherings can not be happening. That will cause the spread of COVID-19."

Dunn said stricter guidelines are not being considered for families picking up missionaries. According to a post on newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org, only parents or guardians should come to the airport and safe social distancing should be practiced. Missionaries who return home are to be self-isolated for two weeks to help prevent the spread of the virus. 

Dunn said a national lock-down is not being discussed at the present time. She said efforts are being made to increase testing in the state and ensure there is sufficient personal protective equipment for health care workers.

Watch the full press conference here.