Live coronavirus updates for Friday, April 24: Person in Gail Miller Resource Center diagnosed with COVID-19

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Dan Dergenthal sets up a sign on 500 North, April 23, 2020. Salt Lake City is temporarily closing some city streets to cars in an effort to promote social distancing. 500 North is the first street that has been designated.

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It’s Friday, April 24. We’ll provide the latest coronavirus updates involving Utah throughout the day.

[Read complete coronavirus coverage here.]


9:05 p.m.: Positive test for COVID-19 in Gail Miller Resource Center

Salt Lake County confirmed that someone in the the Gail Miller Resource Center has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

It’s the first case reported at the Salt Lake City center, a 200-bed shelter for men and women experiencing homelessness.

A news release says that all people considered “at risk for exposure” will be tested, including about 100 clients.

The county declined to release additional information about the case on Friday night.

Last week, 94 men at the 300-bed South Salt Lake men’s homeless resource center tested positive for the coronavirus.

The county said then, "The nature of a congregant living facility like a Homeless Resource Center creates unique challenges in the effort to slow the spread of the virus. Social distancing is one of the most effective methods for slowing the spread of COVID-19, but that is especially challenging in a building that houses 300 people.”

— Paighten Harkins

3:10 p.m.: Herbert still wants to loosen some restrictions, but says areas of concern remain

Gov. Gary Herbert confirmed again Friday that he’s planning to loosen up some restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic — but he says he still has some areas of concern before he’s ready to move forward.

Primarily, Herbert says he wants to know from the state’s Public Health and Economic Emergency Commission about how relaxing restrictions could affect vulnerable populations, those who are older and have underlying health issues that make them more susceptible to dying from COVID-19.

He also said he also wants to know more about whether to issue a statewide directive, or if there are parts of Utah that are hot spots for COVID-19 and should remain restricted.

He set a tentative May 1 date to reopen shuttered restaurants, gyms and parks.

“We’re not going back to business as usual,” he said. “We may not see a lot of change in our own personal behavior, but we’ll see opportunities for businesses to open up and to interact more than we’ve done in the past.”

Herbert’s announcement Friday came as four more deaths were detailed by Utah health officials. Three of those who died were in longterm care facilities, and the fourth was hospitalized when they died.

The governor said they’re looking to data to guide when some restrictions could be lifted. He said he feels comfortable with loosening restrictions as hospitalization rates have started to decline and local hospitals have the capacity to treat those who are ill.

— Jessica Miller

1:30 p.m.: Utah’s coronavirus death rate has now hit 1%, still well below the national average

Four more Utahns have died from the coronavirus, state officials announced Friday — raising the state's death toll to 39.

State epidemiologist Angela Dunn said Friday that three of those deaths were people who had been in long-term care facilities and the fourth was hospitalized at the time of their death.

The Utah Department of Health reported Friday that it has confirmed a total 3,782 cases of COVID-19 statewide. That’s 170 more than were reported Thursday.

The state has seen 315 people admitted to a hospital for COVID-19, the state’s Friday figures showed — 14 more than the day before.

The state reports 84,697 Utahns have been tested for coronavirus so far.

This is the 11th day in a row where the state has announced a coronavirus death and as they have racked up, the state’s death rate has now topped 1% of cases for the first time. That’s still well below the national death rate of 5.6%, according to statistics compiled by Johns Hopkins University. More than 50,000 Americans have died of the coronavirus.

Three of Utah’s fourth deaths took place Salt Lake County. The other was in Utah County. So far, 23 of Utah’s 39 deaths have involved people from Salt Lake County.

The state counts anyone who has lived three weeks after testing positive as having recovered. So far, 34%, or 1,252 people, have recovered.

— Jessica Miller

12:25 p.m.: Fundraising gala for Ronald McDonald House goes online

Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Intermountain area will host a “virtual” fundraising gala Saturday that is open to the entire community. No ticket is required.

To participate in the annual Spirit of Children Gala text “Spirit2020” to 76278.

Last year's gala raised nearly $1.5 million and provided services for almost 6,500 families, or about 50,000 visits to the Primary Children's Hospital family room, officials said in a news release.

“We are asking our community,” CEO Carrie Romano said, “to join us for our most important annual charitable fundraising event of the year in support of pediatric patient families that need emergency lodging, transportation and food during this pandemic and long after it.”

The silent auction is already live.

The virtual gala also will be broadcast live Saturday at 6 p.m. on KUTV-Channel 2 with hosts Mark Koelbel and Sterling Poulson.

For more information, visit ronaldmcdonaldhouseutah.org or call 801-363-4663.

— Kathy Stephenson

12:05 p.m.: Smith’s offers free home delivery of prescriptions through May 16

Pharmacies at Smith’s Food & Drug stores in Utah are now providing free home delivery of prescriptions.

Customers who request home delivery before 11 a.m. each day can get it within two days at no cost through May 16, the company said in a news release.

Aerosols, controlled substances and refrigerated items cannot be delivered.

The service is especially important for patients who might put their health — or others — at risk by coming into the store, said Jaime Montuoro, Smith’s pharmacy director.

Smith’s also offers a My Prescriptions tool through a mobile application and its website. It allows customers to manage and refill prescriptions and set up notifications for pickup and pay.

— Kathy Stephenson

11:20 a.m.: Moab liquor store closes after employee tests positive

The state liquor store in Moab is temporarily closed after an employee tested positive for COVID-19.

The store, 55 W. 200 South, will remain shuttered at least through the weekend, said Terry Wood, spokesman for the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

“The earliest it could possibly open is Monday,” he said. “It all depends on the DABC’s ability to provide staffing.”

The nearest state-run liquor stores are in Monticello or Green River. Moab also has two wineries and a brewery that have licenses to sell what is produced on-site.

Wood said the infected employee had not been in the store since being tested April, 20. The positive result came Thursday, when the store was officially closed and a sign posted on the door.

All employees have voluntarily been tested, he said, and are now isolating at home until their test results are received.

On Saturday, an independent company will professionally sanitize and disinfect the store.

“The priority of the DABC is the health and safety of our employees and customers,” he said. “Our sincere concern at this time is with our Moab employee and family.”

The Moab store is the first state-run liquor outlet to shut down due to an employee testing positive for COVID-19.

— Kathy Stephenson

10:50 a.m.: Molina Healthcare donates to Utah food pantries.

Molina Healthcare of Utah plans to donate $15,500 to relief efforts in response to COVID-19. Molina will provide funds to food banks and other community-based organizations.

“With this donation Molina will help get more food and supplies to people in need,” said Brandon Hendrickson, plan president of Molina Healthcare of Utah. “We know that in the toughest of times, a warm meal and the certainty that families and children will have enough to eat is of the utmost importance. These direct donations will go towards helping the communities where we live and work get back on their feet.”

Molina Healthcare is providing donations to the following organizations in Utah:

• Community Action Services and Food Bank, Provo.

• Neighborhood House Food Pantry.

• Care and Share Food Pantry, Iron County.

• Salt Lake School District Food Pantries.

• Christian Center, Summit and Wasatch counties.

• Monument Valley Food Pantry.

• Switch Point, Washington County Food Pantry.

• Box Elder Community Food Pantry.

— Norma Gonzalez

8:45 a.m.: The Utah Cultural Celebration Center goes dark

Add the Utah Cultural Celebration Center to the list of Wasatch Front venues canceling its summer plans because of the coronavirus pandemic.

West Valley Arts, the nonprofit that programs the center, announced Friday that it will not hold its three major events: the summer theater production at UCCC; its summer concert series; and the Wasatch International Food Festival in August.

In a statement, officials at West Valley Arts said they plan to post arts-related content on its website and on social media.

— Sean P. Means