Coronavirus not in Utah but plenty of flu is

LOGAN — Something that has been getting a lot of news coverage nationally is the Chinese Coronavirus. On KVNU’s For the People program on Tuesday, Keith Larsen, the Emergency Services director at Bear River Health Department, said there is not one Coronavirus case being treated in Utah.

“We certainly want to take this very, very seriously but there is no risk to anybody in our Bear River health district right now. We’ll take it seriously and we’ll work hard on insuring that people are safe, but right now things are going well, ” Larsen said.

He said public health is all about prevention. For the respiratory diseases that are frequent this time of year, the prevention actions are all the same: avoid contact with sick persons (staying at least six feet away), avoid traveling while sick, cover your mouth and nose with your sleeve and not your hand when you cough or sneeze.

As far as influenza in the area, Larsen said the cases are as high as they’ve been in six years and hospitalizations are being seen. He said he hopes people are getting the message about the importance of flu vaccines.

“I can tell you, back during the days of H1NI (virus) in 2009, in the three county area between our medical partners and ourselves, we vaccinated around 70,000 people. Now in a regular flu season, we won’t get near that rate, because it’s just not as concerning. But the interesting thing is we’re running about 50/50 right now, actually 58/42 with Influenza B, that’s the predominant strain that we’re seeing at 58 percent and Influenza A at 42 percent.”

Larsen said the influenza viruses are their own type while the Coronavirus is more closely related to past outbreaks such as SARS and Middle East Respiratory Virus. You can hear the entire interview with Larsen below.

AUDIO: Keith Larsen, BRHD, talks to Jason Williams on KVNU’s For the People

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