‘I learned my lesson’; Hospital administrator’s Facebook claim of COVID-19 cases in Southern Utah is false

Stock image, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A post by the administrator of Beaver Valley and Milford Memorial hospitals on the Beaver Valley Hospital Facebook page late Wednesday night about multiple COVID-19 cases in Washington and Iron counties that went viral was rescinded by the administrator Thursday morning.

The post, signed by Scott Langford, the administrator of Beaver Valley Hospital and Milford Memorial Hospital, read, “We have been notified tonight of 3 cases of COVID-19 in Iron County and 11 in Washington County.”

On Thursday morning, Langford told St. George News that he misinterpreted a form sent out by the Southwest Utah Public Health Department to hospitals on disease counts. He said the cases were suspected cases that were later tested as negative for the virus.

“They’ve done 14 tests, but there have been no positives,” Langford said, expressing regret for the post. “I don’t want to be a Facebook influencer. We’re just preparing. I won’t be doing numbers in the future, I can tell you that much. I learned my lesson.”

“We have not yet been notified of any cases,” David Heaton, spokesman for Southwest Utah Public Health Department, told St. George News Thursday morning.

As of now, any tests conducted in Southern Utah are sent up to the Utah Department of Health in Salt Lake City and tested there. Yesterday, the department said testing was halted for a time because of the earthquake that struck the area Wednesday.

Charla Haley of the Utah Department of Health said she had no information concerning any new cases in Southern Utah.

Beaver Valley Hospital’s post disappeared from Facebook Thursday morning after being shared by many in social media and was replaced by another from Langford.

“We have removed a post from last night that listed specific numbers for COVID-19 in Iron and Washington Counties,” the Thursday morning post reads, later continuing, “We would refer all questions for valid data to the Southwest Utah Public Health Department.”

The official state number of Utah residents infected with the virus as of Thursday morning remains at 53, with new numbers expected later Thursday.

The state count includes St. George resident Mark Jorgensen, who acquired the virus on the Diamond Princess cruise ship off the coast of Asia during a recent vacation. There have been no cases of people acquiring the virus anywhere in Southern Utah or Mesquite, Nevada.

COVID-19 information resources

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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