Wasatch County Health Department Director Briefs County Council On COVID-19 Prep

On Wednesday, Wasatch County Council received an update from the County Health Department on their efforts to prepare for and deal with the possibility of the COVID-19 coronavirus making its way to the county.

Wasatch County Health Department Director Randal Probst has set up a joint information system where various public information officers in the county coordinate how information is disseminated.

“We’ve had really good visits with the school district,” Probst continued. “We’ve met with them, they’re very engaged and working jointly with us. We’ve formed another task force that brings people in from all of the entities in the county. We’ve started at the beginning with those are the highest risk and highest areas of susceptibility and that the task force continues to grow. We meet weekly with the various representatives from cities, and school, and businesses. As you’re aware some of the higher risk is with the elderly, and so we’ve looped in there our care centers and long term facilities and those kinds of organizations so that we’re all on the same page.”

The Wasatch County Health Department has set up a webpage where residents can get specific information about the virus in the county. That address is coronavirus.wasatch.utah.gov. Information on the website includes a display of confirmed cases in Wasatch County and confirmed cases statewide. As of Thursday afternoon, Wasatch County had zero, while the state had five.

“Fortunately for the state of Utah so far, there have been no cases of in-community spread,” Probst said. “They’ve all come in from the outside, most of those have to do with travel.”

Probst said currently Wasatch County has been actively screening residents that have been identified by airports, hospitals, and clinics as being at risk. The health department has three classifications for those who they are interested in watching for symptoms. One is persons under investigation, that’s those who are symptomatic and match the profile of having the virus but are awaiting testing. The next level down is those under active monitoring. These people are contacted twice a day by the health department, they are also those who are at a higher-risk and have recently returned from a place where there is community spread of the virus.

As of Thursday afternoon, Wasatch County Health Department does not have any individuals who fall under the person under investigation or active monitoring umbrella. The lowest level of classification is self-monitoring.

“They’ve come in from somewhere that was high risk,” Probst explained. “They don’t have symptoms; they don’t fit the classification of a person under investigation yet. They don’t meet all that criteria, but they could be at risk. So, we ask them to self-isolate. We ask them to just stay home and we have a monitoring program that we give to them. They do a couple of things; they monitor themselves twice a day with temperature and other things to track themselves and do self-monitoring. We’ve asked them then to self-isolate for that 14 days.”

As of Thursday afternoon, there are three cases of people who are under self-monitoring in Wasatch County.

Read the original story at KPCW.org

Heber Valley Artisan Cheese held their 2nd annual Ice Sculptures Exhibition this weekend. Several local businesses sponsored the sculptures being displayed. There were also two different ice carving demonstrations. The event was free to the public.

The annual event began last year when Carolee Kohler saw ice sculpting on a Hallmark movie and thought it would be a fun idea for their farm. They are also considering a woodcarving event.

According to Lindsey Strother, social media and events coordinator, each sculpture takes between 1-3 hours to carve. “We contacted Amazing Ice Creations back in November, and we reached out to local companies to sponsor the ice sculptures,” she said. “Yesterday morning around 9 am, they came in a massive truck and dropped them all off for us, and we set them up.”

Along with the ice sculptures, sponsors receive a sign and canopy for the display and social media marketing. The sponsors decide what they want to have sculpted. After the event, they can take the ice sculptures and display them at their businesses. The creations normally last a couple of weeks. Some will be left in the field and can be viewed throughout the week.

The ice this year included Olaf, company logos, animals, and other items. Darron Kingston, the sculptor, has carved ice for over 10 years with his dad. According to Kingston, “I like sculptures that give me a challenge. Here, for example, my favorite was the lumberjack.” One of his favorite past creations was a 9-foot bear.

Grant Kohler, owner of Heber Valley Artisan Cheese, explained, “We decided to do something that was free and something that people could just get out and come and enjoy. Especially this year with Covid, it seems like Januarys are slow months. People are looking for things to be able to get outside and do.” He continued, “Businesses pay in and buy the sculptures, we have them sculpted, and then we just let people come and enjoy them.” Kohler estimated around 3,000 to 4,000 people will stop by the event.

The dairy farm also offers cheese-making classes and tours of their new robotic barn. “The tours are everyday except Sunday,” according to Kohler. “People hayride over, intermingle with the cows, see the barn and amenities, and watch the cows be milked. The cows will literally go get milked on their own.” Tickets for the tours and other events are available on the Heber Valley Artisan Cheese website: https://hebervalleyartisancheese.com/.