Over 50 Salt Lake City officers under quarantine ahead of vice presidential debate

The city has seen a rise in new cases over the last month.

Salt Lake City’s latest rise in novel coronavirus cases has affected dozens of the city’s police officers, with at least 9% under quarantine ahead of Wednesday night’s vice presidential debate.

As of Tuesday evening, 17 officers tested positive for COVID-19, and 52 were in quarantine, Detective Michael Ruff told ABC News. On Monday, the department said 15 officers tested positive and 25 others were under quarantine.

A 2019 report by the Salt Lake City police department said the force had 542 uniformed officers, and Ruff could not say how much that number has changed over the year.

Ruff the department’s duties during the debate at the University of Utah shouldn’t be hindered because other agencies, including the university police, state police and federal authorities will be assisting.

“There are a lot of people who are working on this,” he said.

PHOTO: Salt Lake City police officers wear face masks to protect against the spread of the new coronavirus as they patrol in Salt Lake City, Utah, April 21, 2020.

Salt Lake City police officers wear face masks to protect against the spread of the new coronavirus as they patrol in Salt Lake City, Utah, April 21, 2020.

Salt Lake City police officers wear face masks to protect against the spread of the new coronavirus as they patrol in Salt Lake City, Utah, April 21, 2020.

As for the city’s day-to day police matters, Ruff said that the department has been shifting schedules and personnel to fill the gaps. The spokesman added that some of those quarantined officers were still working but only taking cases by phone for which in-person police work may not be required.

“You may have an incident where someone calls about fraud and doesn’t have a suspect ID. They’d be taking the call,” Ruff added.

The coronavirus situation that’s ensnared police is part of a larger trend of rising COVID-19 cases in Salt Lake City, according to data from the county’s Health Department. As of Tuesday evening, there were 34,087 total cases and 16 total deaths, with 136 people hospitalized due to the virus and 254 hospitalized since the pandemic began.

PHOTO: A car pulls into one of the first drive through testing facilities for Coronavirus (COVID-19) virus in a parking lot outside the University of Utah's Sugar House Health Clinic in Salt Lake City, Utah, March 16,  2020.

A car pulls into one of the first drive through testing facilities for Coronavirus (COVID-19) virus in a parking lot outside the University of Utah’s Sugar House Health Clinic in Salt Lake City, Utah, March 16, 2020.

A car pulls into one of the first drive through testing facilities for Coronavirus (COVID-19) virus in a parking lot outside the University of Utah’s Sugar House Health Clinic in Salt Lake City, Utah, March 16, 2020.

Since Sept. 8, 8,904 people contracted the virus, more than a quarter of the city’s total cases, according to health department data. The seven-day average of new daily cases went from 142 on Sept. 8 to 424 on Oct. 4.

Nicholas Rupp, a spokesman for the Salt Lake County Health Department, told ABC News in a statement that the greatest increase in numbers come from “younger people, high school and

When VP candidates debate in Salt Lake City, they can see changes on health care’s frontlines

When the VP candidates debate in Salt Lake City, they can see changes in health care’s frontlines



a laptop on a table: When VP candidates debate in Salt Lake City, they can see changes on health care's frontlines


© The Hill
When VP candidates debate in Salt Lake City, they can see changes on health care’s frontlines

Winston Churchill did something compelling when Nazi bombers attacked London at the start of World War II. Instead of rushing to a bomb shelter, he climbed to a rooftop so he could see what was happening. After the attacks, he visited bombed-out sites to see the impact on the communities he served.

“Churchill toured the worst-hit areas on foot,” one historian recalled. His bodyguard said, “He could no more stay out of a raid than he could sit still in a debate in Parliament.”

My point is to invite Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Vice President Mike Pence to take this same kind of close-up look at health care when they come to Salt Lake City for their debate on Oct. 7. They’ll see how leading health systems are reforming health care and learn how Washington can support practical efforts to make care more accessible and affordable.

Here are three simple solutions they’ll see.

First, we need to increase connectivity and offer more virtual care. When schools went virtual during the pandemic, we saw the challenges faced by kids who don’t have computer access. That same problem affects health care consumers, especially in impoverished and rural areas.

The use of telehealth skyrocketed during the pandemic, and people won’t want to go back to how things used to be. Vice President Pence and Sen. Harris ought to visit Intermountain’s newest hospital, which is entirely virtual, and see how it connects patients across vast rural areas with medical specialists in more than 50 disciplines.

When COVID-19 first struck, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services granted waivers to expand telehealth dramatically. Those waivers should be made permanent, and HHS should support telehealth’s continued expansion.

Second, we need to focus on keeping people healthy and treating them when they’re sick. Preventive care is directly tied to the social determinants of health, such as stable housing, joblessness, hunger, and access to transportation – all of which are major influences on health. Intermountain and other health systems have formed partnerships to address these influences, especially those disproportionately affecting people of color.

For example, the Centers for Disease Control reports that the rate of maternal deaths among Black women in the U.S. is 37.1 per 100,000 births, but only 17.4 percent for all women. That’s unconscionable. Racial inequities in health care are a public health crisis. While we don’t have all the answers, our clinical improvement model is crunching decades of data to identify problems in treating specific populations and refining our protocols until we get superior outcomes.

The government can help by updating regulations that have discouraged collaboration between physicians, hospitals, and other organizations and created unnecessary costs in today’s health care model, which is increasingly focused on provider coordination.

Third, we need to take practical steps

Traces of coronavirus found in Lake Superior water, researchers say

Traces of the novel coronavirus were found in water samples taken from Lake Superior beaches in Duluth, Minn., according to researchers with the University of Minnesota Medical School, Duluth campus.

Since July, researchers have collected water samples from eight different beaches in Duluth in an effort to better understand how the novel virus “acts in the water and whether it can spread there,” the Star Tribune reported. (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there is “no evidence that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can spread to people through water” at oceans, lakes and other natural bodies of water, as well as pools, water playgrounds and hot tubs.)

"The research team describes the detection level at 100 to 1,000 copies per liter, or 10,000 times lower than levels observed in wastewater," the researchers said.

“The research team describes the detection level at 100 to 1,000 copies per liter, or 10,000 times lower than levels observed in wastewater,” the researchers said.
(iStock)

In September, the researchers found traces of SARS-Cov-2 for the first time in water samples from Park Point, the beach at E. 42nd Avenue, and Brighton Beach.

“The research team describes the detection level at 100 to 1,000 copies per liter or 10,000 times lower than levels observed in wastewater,” the researchers said, according to the Star Tribune.

CORONAVIRUS CAUSED SPIKE IN GOOGLE SEARCH FOR THIS SYMPTOM 

The source of the virus is unknown, per the newspaper. But lead study author Richard Melvin, an assistant professor in the department of biomedical sciences at the University of Minnesota Medical School’s Duluth campus, told local news outlet KARE11 that swimmers could be responsible, as those infected can shed the virus for up to a month even after their symptoms have bettered, he said.

“Understanding where to look for the virus is really key in how to deal with these types of infections in the future,” he said, echoing the CDC in saying there is currently no evidence that people can contract the virus through water. “Now knowing that we can find it in the lake water, it could be another indicator of the prevalence of the virus in the population that lives in that location.”

MAJORITY OF AMERICANS SAY FLU SHOT IS BEST PREVENTATIVE MEASURE, BUT ONLY THIS MANY WILL GET IT

Researchers will continue to test water samples through additional funding from the Minnesota Sea Grant, which initially provided $10,000 for the study, according to the Star Tribune, which noted that officials with the Minnesota Department of Health, as well as other experts, will assist in identifying the source of the virus found in the water samples.

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