COVID-19 claims 26th San Juan County victim

COVID-19 claimed a 26th victim in the past week when a San Juan County resident, a woman in her 70s, passed away in a long-term care facility.

The number of active cases plummeted in the past week, falling from 118 on August 11 to 64 on August 18.

Of the 64 active cases, 29 are in the Blanding area (62 last week), 16 in the Montezuma Creek area (26), nine in the Monument Valley area (16), five in the Bluff area (six), two in the La Sal area (zero), two in the Mexican Hat area (five), and one in Monticello area (three).

Since the pandemic arrived in the area in March, 656 residents have tested positive, with 566 (86 percent) considered recovered.

In the county, a full 85 percent of cases were able to identify where they were exposed to the virus through a known infected person.

Kirk Benge, director of San Juan Public Health, said most exposures are “family, social get-togethers, or through colleagues at work.”

Benge said 55 percent of new cases since July 4 were exposed to the virus by a member of the immediate household who has the virus and 30 percent of cases were exposed by friends, coworkers, teammates, or relatives. 

Benge adds investigators were not able to identify a source exposure in 15 percent of cases. The majority of these are because they did interview the person.  A fraction of the total were unable to identify where they might have been exposed.

A new school year starts on August 24 and many students will return to the classroom for the first time in more than five months. 

Benge said, “Children who return to school will face some risk of being exposed to COVID-19. We are working closely with the school district to help minimize the risk, but we won’t be able to eliminate it. 

“It is more important than ever that children never go to school sick.  Sick children must stay home. If a child develops a cough or fever, or is feeling under the weather, those children need to stay home.  

“We encourage all parents to work out a backup plan with their family and their employer so that we can ensure sick children don’t attend schools.”

San Juan Public Health will work with schools to notify parents when any student may have been in close contact with an infected person.

San Juan Record

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Monticello, UT 84535

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