CONTRIBUTED CONTENT — As Greater Zion residents and Utahns continue to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are wondering when they can safely get back to work and return to some sense of normalcy.
To that end, state, economic, technology and other entities have created the Utah Leads Together health and economic recovery plan. The plan lays out the three phases – urgent, stabilization and recovery – which are in part designed to help businesses correctly balance the health and safety of their employees while also planning imperatives for returning to or continuing operations.
A major part of moving into the stabilization phase and ultimately getting to the recovery phase, which includes workers returning to their job sites, is widespread testing and data-gathering.
That is why Joshua Aikens, an organizer with Silicon Slopes St. George Chapter, said they, along with city, county and state leaders, have partnered to join TestUtah.com, a free online COVID-19 assessment.
Information on the site says testing provides crucial data needed to track the spread of the virus, contain it and to help find a cure and save lives.
“We need to get back to work and we know that the best way, the safest way to get back to work, is to have the data to make the safe decisions,” Aikens said. “That’s why our time and energy is being spent on TestUtah.com.”
Visitors to the TestUtah website will be met with a standard online survey developed by Utah company Qualtrics.
The survey includes gathering some personal data such as a phone number, date of birth and address, so the assessment can collect accurate user data.
The rest of the survey asks users if they are experiencing any symptoms related to COVID-19, if they have been in contact with anyone who has tested positive for the coronavirus and other lifestyle and medical questions.
Aikens said that the information is only being gathered by the state of Utah, that it is privacy protected and will be destroyed once the emergency of the pandemic has passed.
“They’re trying to be as transparent as possible,” Aikens said. “There’s very little potential for anyone to be scammed through TestUtah.com.”
Following the survey, many participants will be invited to get tested for COVID-19.
According to a previous St. George News report, TestUtah is hosting its testing efforts in the Red Cliffs Mall parking lot outside JC Penney. To be able to test, participants must first take the assessment and scan a QR Code on a smartphone if instructed.
The Red Cliffs Mall site acts to augment other testing sites in the county, including one at Intermountain Dixie Regional Medical Center, in collecting widespread testing data.
At this time, Aikens said they are testing only to see if a person has the coronavirus. Antibody tests are not being done currently.
Aikens, who said he was one of the early guinea pigs at the Res Cliffs Mall testing site, described the testing process as quite simple, though not very comfortable.
Still, despite the temporary discomfort of being tested, helping to provide the state with accurate health data is critically important, he said.
Results will be sent to participants through text message and email, hopefully within 72 hours of taking the test, Aikens said.
There is no charge for taking the assessment or for getting tested, he said.
The assessment and the test fulfill a two-fold purpose. One, it helps mobilize resources for those who are sick; and, two, it helps communities get closer to reopening businesses and social activities.
“It’s just as important for us to find out who’s not sick and who’s not been in contact with anyone that’s sick as it is to find out who’s not feeling well,” Aikens said.
Kevin Lewis, director of the Greater Zion Convention and Tourism office, said that the more people who take the assessment and get tested, the more information the county has to make decisions on when to safely return to normal life.
“Our perspective of it is that in order to get the economy going again, we have to have some data that this is a safe and healthy place to be,” Lewis said, adding that even if people are not feeling sick, it is a good idea to get tested to help validate the big picture.
From a tourism and hospitality standpoint – industries that have felt a huge impact due to the COVID-19 pandemic – Lewis said it is important to show the world that Greater Zion is healthy.
Aikens agreed, encouraging everyone to take the assessment and invite their friends and family members to take it as well.
“If Washington County blows that thing up and we have numbers upon numbers of who’s healthy, who’s not been in contact with anyone that’s sick as well as who’s not feeling well today, or who has been tested and has or has recovered from the virus, we will have the data that we need to reopen the county,” Aikens said.
- TestUtah | Take the assessment.
Written by HOLLIE REINA, St. George News.
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