Despite presence of international visitors, Summit County officials say the risk from the coronavirus remains ‘quite low’
Though the Sundance Film Festival has passed, visitors from around the world are expected to continue to flock to the Park City area, not least for the FIS freestyle World Cup set to kick off Thursday at Deer Valley.
Measures are being taken across the world to stem the flow of the novel coronavirus that has sickened more than 20,000 people worldwide and killed 425, according to the World Health Organization. Cases have been reported as close as Arizona, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
Local health officials are keeping an eye on the situation, though they say the risk is low.
“We are still in conversation with CDC calls and also Utah Department of Health calls,” said Carolyn Rose, the county’s nursing director. “For now, our responsibility is to monitor what is happening in other parts of the world as well as the U.S.”
The virus originated in China in December and has since spread to 27 other countries.
The Chinese moguls team will be competing in the World Cup at Deer Valley, according to resort spokesperson Emily Summers, while the Chinese aerial ski team will not.
Summers said that the moguls team previously competed in Canadian competitions before coming to Utah.
“With heightened screenings at major airports and increased awareness at medical facilities, we do not foresee an imminent risk,” she said in an email.
She added that U.S. Ski and Snowboard has been extra vigilant in watching for the virus and has been encouraging its athletes and staff to report symptoms.
Rose said that the Summit County Health Department does not typically monitor athletes coming to the county, just as it doesn’t monitor visitors. She said U.S. airports are screening passengers.
Utah state code gives local health officers the power to quarantine an individual, even against his or her will. In Summit County, that is Health Department Director Rich Bullough.
“It’s important to note that we are nowhere near a situation of having to quarantine anybody,” Bullough said. “In fact, risk is still quite low in the United States.”
Rose has advised people take common-sense precautions like frequently washing their hands, getting a flu shot and staying home while sick.
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