Five county residents diagnosed with COVID-19
Five San Juan County residents have been diagnosed with the COVID-19 coronavirus, with four cases resident in the county and a fifth of a county resident on the Wasatch Front. The individuals include a male under the age of 60 and a male under the age of 40.
More than 125 confirmed cases of the virus have been diagnosed on the Navajo Nation, including a group of residents in and around Chilchinbeto, AZ. There have been two deaths related to the virus on the Navajo Nation.
All four of the local cases are epidemiologically-related to one another and are tied to the Northern Arizona cluster of COVID-19 cases. Public health officials state that contact tracing efforts are "heavily focused in the southern half of the county."
The initial announcement was made on March 27 by the San Juan Public Health Department, Utah Navajo Health Systems, and the Navajo Department of Health. It is assumed that the diagnosis was made in the southern portion of the county, which includes portions of the Navajo Nation.
Officials state that there are limited resources in San Juan County to handle a large case load of severe cases of the virus. Between the local hospitals and clinics, there are just five isolation rooms available in San Juan County.
With the diagnosis, a series of recommendations on social distancing have become prohibitions through April 20 by order of the public health department. See the public health order attached to this story.
Effective immediately, group gatherings larger than ten people are prohibited throughout the county, including camping in groups larger than ten people.
Public Health Director Kirk Benge stresses that outdoor activities are not prohibited, and in fact are encouraged for local residents who are in groups smaller than ten people.
“Being active and outside is a great way to strengthen your immune system,” said Benge, who emphasized that the prohibition is intended to restrict leisure travel and not local residents.
In addition, dine-in food service is prohibited at area restaurants.
In addition to asking individuals to practice social distancing, the new order asks to refrain from visiting assisted living and nursing care facilities, jails, and retirement homes.
Individuals are asked to avoid discretionary travel and social visits, including “pop runs” and “cigarette runs.”
Businesses are asked to implement social distancing, encourage employees to work from home and stay home if sick, use best practice cleaning measures, and exclude those who present signs of illness.
The public health order states preliminary evidence suggests that communities that take decisive action see significant reductions in morbidity and mortality.
Officials continue to expect and prepare for additional cases of COVID-19 in the community.