34 positive cases reported at Grand Canyon and Tusayan
Town and park request masks be worn in public, social distancing
GRAND CANYON, Ariz. — Coronavirus cases in Grand Canyon/ Tusayan have risen to 34 as of July 27.
Government officials and businesses in and around the park have adopted mask mandates and are working to secure provisions and resources for residents and guests visiting the area.
Currently, Grand Canyon National Park Service has issued a park-wide mask mandate, requiring employees as well as visitors to wear masks at all indoor locations throughout the park.
The National Park Service (NPS) has also placed signage throughout the park, indicating mask requirements as well as encouraging social distancing and hand-washing to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
NPS has also updated message board outside the town of Tusayan to indicate mask policies in the park as guests approach.
The town of Tusayan has also issued a mask mandate for all business locations, which requires employees as well as visitors to wear masks indoors or in crowded areas.
During a walking tour through town, Tusayan Town Manager Charlie Hendrix and Mayor Craig Sanderson said they observed about 90-95 percent of patrons wearing masks.
“Patrons arguing about wearing masks has dropped as well,” Hendrix said.
While neither Grand Canyon nor Tusayan have a general enforcement policy for those not wearing masks, businesses are allowed under current mandates to enforce mask wearing at their own discretion.
Recently, some businesses such as Delaware North Corporation (DNC) have begun to enact stricter policies, such as requiring guests to check and adjust masks to fit properly (i.e. covering the nose and mouth) upon entry.
Chellsea Bennett, a DNC and Starbucks employee in Tusayan, said she supports the new measures.
“At first I was skeptical about COVID-19. I have since done my research and have come to understand the seriousness of the virus. I am incredibly pleased with our new stricter policy,” she said.
The coronavirus pandemic has drastically altered life for many residents of Grand Canyon Village and Tusayan as well as the satellite town of Valle.
Supply chain disruptions as well as limited individual resources have created difficulties in securing necessities such as food and hygiene items.
Currently, there are three food banks in the Grand Canyon area. Residents may visit spiritofthecanyon.com for information on locations and hours of operation, as well as to register for food boxes, and to learn more about pickup options and safety precautions. The food banks have been serving the needs of over 1,000 people every month since March.
The Spirit of the Canyon website also has a list of community resources ranging from unemployment issues to business information.
Additional community resources, including a variety of articles related to COVID-19, which can be found at the Williams-Grand Canyon News website at www.williamsnews.com.
The Grand Canyon News features COVID-19 resource links for the entire region, including Coconino County COVID-19 data by zipcode, and is updated weekly.
Testing for COVID-19 is currently available at the North Country Healthcare clinic in Grand Canyon Village on Mondays from 1-2 p.m. Appointments are recommended.
Residents must meet current testing criteria in order to receive a test. Criteria include that individuals are either experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have recently been exposed to the virus.
The clinic is located at 1 Clinic Road, Grand Canyon Village.
Tests are not free, and those without insurance may apply for a payment plan option to cover costs. To learn more call (928) 233-5125 or visit northcountryhealthcare.org.
Currently, there is no testing in Tusayan, although the town council as well as the Tusayan Fire Department (TFD) have been in communication with the Coconino County Department of Health & Human Services to discuss options.
According to TFD Chief Greg Brush, in order to receive tests, the department, as the town’s paramedic service, must first obtain a recommendation by its supervising doctor. Then, the paramedics would receive training on administering the tests. At this time, there is no expected date or location for testing.
Coconino County Health and Human Services (CCHHS), in collaboration with North Country HealthCare and other community partners, will offer COVID-19 testing in Williams July 30 from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
The testing site will be at the Williams Elementary/Middle School parking lot, 601 N. 7th Street in Williams. Those attending are asked to enter at the north side of the campus. Testing will occur in the bus loop.
No appointment or healthcare provider order is needed. Individuals exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, runny nose, congestion and new loss of taste or smell) and individuals that feel they have been exposed to COVID-19 are encouraged to be tested. Waiting 5 to 8 days following exposure is recommended in order to obtain the most accurate results. Individuals requesting testing outside of this timeframe may be asked to come back during the 5 – 8 day window.
Town of Tusayan continues to assist businesses
The Tusayan town council has continued to order supplies such as masks, sanitizer and cleaning supplies to assist businesses in Tusayan.
So far, the council has spent $132,230 of its relief fund budget for COVID-19 expenses on masks, gloves and sanitation supplies.
To date, the council has procured 144,000 disposable masks, 100 no-touch thermometers, 302,500 pairs of gloves, 1200 bottles of sanitizer, as well as 50 A-Frame stands for signage and 1500 gallons of disinfectant.
Additionally, the council has set aside $2 million in the 2020-2021 budget for COVID-19 related expenses, such as continued assistance to the food banks as well as quarantine support for businesses. A detailed budget is available on the town’s website at tusayan-az.gov.
Tusayan Vice Mayor Brady Harris said residents and visitors should take the virus serious and should follow local and state guidelines that are in place for the health and safety of citizens.
“Please take this (virus) seriously. While the fatality rate is considered low, the fact remains that the virus is transmitted easily from person to person,” he said. “Please wear a mask and limit exposure to other persons. If you are feeling unwell, do not be negligent.”
Brady encouraged residents to stay home and not expose others until they have been tested and to limit contact with loved ones who are susceptible to the virus, namely the elderly and those with pre-exisiting conditions.
“It may seem cruel, not being able to visit the people you love, but this may save their life. We are all in this together. Individually we must practice social distancing, but together as a community, we can survive and thrive,” he said.
Cases in Arizona
As of July 27, there are 163,827 cases in Arizona and 3,304 deaths, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.
More than 1,099,682 tests have been conducted.
As of July 27, there have been 50 recorded cases in Williams, 1-5 in Ash Fork, 1-5 in Parks, seven in Bellemont, 13 on the NAU campus, 1,057 between western and eastern Flagstaff and 10 in Munds Park, according to Coconino County Health and Human Services.
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