COVID-19

ONE YEAR LATER

One year. 12 months. 52 weeks. 365 days. We organize our existences around the passing of a year—“another trip around the sun.” But no 12-month period has challenged us more than the last one, as the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted every minute of our lives since March 2020.

On the fifth day of that month, University Hospital admitted its first COVID-19 patient. Before that moment, the threat of the virus felt somehow abstract—far away and surely not a threat to our normal routines. Since then, those routines have been upended so radically it’s hard to even tally the losses. Weddings and graduations gone uncelebrated. Bills left unpaid. Jobs lost, vacations scrapped, dreams deferred, friendships put on hold—and, in the most devastating of cases, more than half a million unexpected deaths mourned painfully alone. 

But there’s another side to the tragedy of COVID-19. A story of resilience and fortitude told every day at University of Utah Health and hospitals around the world: frontline workers, essential employees, and regular Americans coming together to save lives and virtually connect in a time of crisis. A scientific research community answering history's most pressing call to arms by developing safe, effective vaccines in record time. Utahns from all walks of life becoming a bit more attuned to life’s unexpected upheavals—and the empathy required to live through them.

That’s the year U of U Health sees when we look backward: 12 months to learn from, 52 weeks to remember, and 365 days to commemorate, one pivotal event at a time. 

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Before a single case of COVID-19 had been confirmed in the United States, planning for the possible spread of the virus began. Strategic decision-making in December 2019, patient scenario exercises in January 2020, presentations by infectious diseases specialist and hospital epidemiologist Jeanmarie Mayer, MD, in February, and collaborations with the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) became the norm—until the inevitable arrival of the pandemic in March 2020.

SPRING

One of the first COVID-19 patients admitted to University Hospital was Neal Murphy, a native Midwesterner and veteran of the Air Force Reserves. He recovered after five days on a ventilator, but the experience taught his son, Ryan—a U of U Health hospitalist—a lifelong lesson about how to connect with patients despite isolating safety procedures.


Negative pressure tents set up outside University Hospital to contain possible spread of COVID-19


University of Utah restricts business travel, forcing many faculty and staff to cancel spring conferences, recruitment events, and other key gatherings

Symptomatic COVID-19 testing begins in partnership with ARUP Laboratories


To date, U of U Health has conducted more than 416,650 COVID-19 tests.


U of U Health announces initial restrictions to visitor policy to keep patients, staff, and families safe


Clement Chow, PhD, assistant professor of human genetics at University of Utah, shares his COVID-19 journey 

Use of negative pressure tents at University Hospital begins

Non-urgent elective surgeries postponed


Availability of COVID-19 testing hampered by early critical shortages of reagents and swabs


U of U Health community dons white ribbons to show support for frontline medical staff—the same day, leaders join health experts and state officials to host COVID-19 town hall

MARCH 5 / DAY 1

One of the first COVID-19 patients admitted to University Hospital was Neal Murphy, a native Midwesterner and veteran of the Air Force Reserves. He recovered after five days on a ventilator, but the experience taught his son, Ryan—a U of U Health hospitalist—a lifelong lesson about how to connect with patients despite isolating safety procedures.


MARCH 7 / DAY 3

Negative pressure tents set up outside University Hospital to contain possible spread of COVID-19


MARCH 9 / DAY 5

University of Utah restricts business travel, forcing many faculty and staff to cancel spring conferences, recruitment events, and other key gatherings

MARCH 11 / DAY 7

Symptomatic COVID-19 testing begins in partnership with ARUP Laboratories


To date, U of U Health has conducted more than 416,650 COVID-19 tests.


MARCH 12 / DAY 8

U of U Health announces initial restrictions to visitor policy to keep patients, staff, and families safe


MARCH 13 / DAY 9

Clement Chow, PhD, assistant professor of human genetics at University of Utah, shares his COVID-19 journey 

MARCH 15 / DAY 11

Use of negative pressure tents at University Hospital begins

MARCH 16 / DAY 12

Non-urgent elective surgeries postponed


MARCH 16 / DAY 12

Availability of COVID-19 testing hampered by early critical shortages of reagents and swabs


MARCH 17 / DAY 13

U of U Health community dons white ribbons to show support for frontline medical staff—the same day, leaders join health experts and state officials to host COVID-19 town hall