SALT LAKE CITY — Health experts worry strong recommendations to Governor Gary Herbert’s office may have fallen on deaf ears while almost 650 Utahns have died from the disease.
“He thought he had a really bad flu,” said Heather Edwards.
Keegan Theurer is one of the youngest Utahns to die from COVID-19 complications. He was admitted to the ICU on his 22nd birthday.
“He started hallucinating,” said Edwards, Keegan’s mother in San Diego, Calif. “He kept complaining of severe migraines. He had been complaining migraines for several days at this point.”
The virus caused the Logan man’s brain to swell significantly. Keegan slipped into a coma. On Oct 24, doctors declared him brain dead.
“We just waited about a half an hour and they said he had taken his last breath and was declared dead,” Edwards said.
His mother said her son was young, healthy and wasn’t at high risk.
“Just upbeat and getting out there. Testing out adulthood and enjoying it. He was a good kid,” said Edwards.
With cases and deaths skyrocketing, a coalition of health experts pushed recommendations to state leaders.
“Right now, we have to essentially shut down pretty much all social interaction as far as gatherings, extended family gatherings, parties, weddings. That sounds cruel but it is the facts,” said infectious disease physician Dr. Todd Vento.
Dr. Vento believes most Utah businesses and schools are doing their part. Yet, at a meeting with state leaders and the White House Task Force last weekend, he fears strict science-based recommendations weren’t taken seriously.
“I am really disappointed, I am being as honest as I can be here, people who left those rooms used the visit as a way to confirm what they already believe,” said Dr. Vento.
The Governor’s office tells FOX 13 that “they are currently discussing next steps and at this point, everything is on the table.”
Keegan’s mom hopes compassion is included in the plan.
“It has to do with being human. If we care, we take care of each other and if we care about each other and take care of each other, we are going to do the things that it takes to be careful and smart,” said Edwards.
Governor Herbert’s office is expected to make an announcement on possible actions Monday.