Despite no reported cases, COVID-19 virus impacts the county
The impact of the worldwide pandemic triggered by the COVID-19 virus continues to hit very close to home, even though there are no known cases of the virus in San Juan County as of the March 24 newspaper deadline.
Public health officials have outlined a series of steps to deal with the possible health impacts of the pandemic. Many local residents are staying close to home in an attempt to minimize the spread of the virus through social isolation. Nonessential travel is discouraged.
Public events have been canceled or delayed and churches continue to cancel or minimize gatherings. Even the ability to celebrate and mourn has been impacted as weddings and funerals are changed by the pandemic.
While there have been no cases of the virus within San Juan County, surrounding areas have issued reports, including a cluster of 27 cases in northern Arizona.
There are 14 cases of COVID-19 reported in Chilchinbito, AZ and three each in Kayenta and Chinle, AZ.
In Colorado, there have been four reported cases across San Miguel (Telluride), Montrose (Montrose) and Mesa (Grand Junction) counties. Nothing to date is reported in Dolores (Dove Creek), Montezuma (Cortez), or San Juan (Durango) counties.
There have been three reported cases in San Juan County, NM (Farmington).
As of the press deadline, there are no reported cases in eastern Utah, including San Juan, Grand, Emery, Carbon, Duchesne, Uintah, and Daggett counties. A local resident was diagnosed with the virus in the Salt Lake Valley, but has not been in the area recently.
Local businesses, industries, and institutions face unprecedented challenges related to the pandemic. Restaurants offer takeout-only options, motels are mostly empty, retail businesses are devoid of customers, and grocery establishments are facing panic buying.
Industrial enterprises are also in difficulty, including the unexpected closure of one of the largest private employers in San Juan County at the Lisbon Valley Copper Mine.
Health care establishments are gearing up for a worst-case scenario, even while continuing to work to keep up with ongoing demands. Non-urgent procedures have been canceled.
Local schools will be closed throughout April, after Governor Gary Herbert extended a two-week closure to at least six weeks.
Officials for the San Juan School District report that distance learning is ongoing for the roughly 3,000 students in the sprawling district.
Food service crews have been busy pulling together approximately 6,000 meals a day for local children up to age 18. The meals can be picked up or are delivered by school bus. The buses also deliver and pick up homework.
Even while the number of visitors to the area is plummeting, the population of area communities is also growing as college students, travelers, and missionaries return home.
Scores of students have left the school setting after colleges and universities closed or moved to distance-delivered classes. The returning students are joined in local communities by scores of missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who returned home from around the world.