COVID-19 claims sixth San Juan County resident
A sixth San Juan County resident has died from the coronavirus. The San Juan Public Health Department reports that a man under the age of 60 from the Montezuma Creek area passed away in the past week.
While the virus has spread in communities throughout the county, it remains primarily focused in the southern portion of the county.
Areas served by Utah Navajo Health System (UNHS) account for 93 percent of the cases.
On June 15, there had been 363 positive tests for San Juan County residents, with 336 positive cases reported by UNHS. In total, there have been 36 hospitalizations of county residents and six fatalities.
Overall, San Juan County has by far the highest infection rate in the state of Utah and one of the highest rates in the United States.
As of June 15, 2.35 percent of county residents had been diagnosed with the virus. The county with the next-highest infection rate is Wasatch County, which has less than half of the San Juan County rate, at 1.06 percent.
The case rate in the Monticello and Blanding zip codes is just 0.372 percent of the population, while the areas outside these zip codes in San Juan County has a rate of 4.525 percent.
Local hospitals have completed testing of their employees to determine if they may have been exposed to the virus and developed antibodies as a result.
San Juan Public Health Director Kirk Benge reports that the results of the antibody testing suggest the health care community has had very little exposure to the virus. Of the 143 employees who were tested at San Juan Hospital and Blue Mountain Hospital, Benge reports that not a single test showed antibodies to the virus.
Benge also said the test results may refute the belief of some that many Northern San Juan County residents were exposed to the coronavirus during a flu episode in January and February.
“This suggests that no one has been exposed,” explained Benge. “Our immune systems in northern San Juan County are all pretty naïve.”
Additional antibody testing has turned up positive tests in the Montezuma Creek area.