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Truck runs into outdoor COVID-19 testing site at the U., injuring nine

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Workers at the scene where a truck crashed into a COVID-19 testing site at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020.

A pickup truck ran into a COVID-19 testing site in the Rice-Eccles Stadium parking lot at the University of Utah on Thursday at about 9:40 a.m., demolishing it and causing multiple injuries.

According to a spokesman for the Salt Lake City Fire Department, first responders had to stop the truck, which was still moving forward after hitting two other vehicles before running into the the trailer, when they arrived at about 9:45 a.m.

“We have witnesses that indicate it was some sort of medical problem, but that’s still under investigation,” said University of Utah deputy police chief Jason Hinojosa.

Nine people were injured, according to authorities. Five were treated at the scene and released; four — three employees at the testing site and the driver of the pickup truck — were taken to hospitals. None of the injuries are believed to be life threatening.

University of Utah Health spokeswoman Kylene Metzger said at 5 p.m. that two of the four patients were discharged. One of the patients still in the hospital is in good condition and the other is in fair condition, she said.

“When you look at the damage and you see the speed of the truck coming in, it could have been much, much worse,” Hinojosa said.

The accident forced the testing site to shut down for at least the remainder of the day on Thursday and Friday. Those who had appointments are being routed to other testing sites, said Richard Orlandi, associate chief medical officer for University of Utah Health. “We’re going to get this site up and operating as soon as possible,” he said.

The site in the U. parking lot had been doing about 400 COVID-19 tests per day, Orlandi said, adding that he believes U. Health will be able to pick up that number at its other three testing sites while the Rice-Eccles facility is repaired.

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