Grand Canyon National Park Closes After Employee Has Positive COVID-19 Test

Grand Canyon National Park closed down this week due to the coronavirus pandemic. While the park had remained open due to the ability to keep social distancing, it was forced to temporarily shut down after an employee tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

The park will remain closed indefinitely.

“As soon as we received the letter from the Health and Human Services Director and Chief Health Officer for Coconino County recommending the closure of Grand Canyon National Park, we closed the park,” Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said in a statement.

Grand Canyon Acting Superintendent Mary Risser says the employee has since been placed in isolation.

“The health and safety of park visitors, employees, residents, volunteers and partners at Grand Canyon National Park is the Service’s number one priority,” the National Parks Service said.

Other national parks that have closed during the outbreak are Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and the Great Smoky Mountains.

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The coronavirus outbreak has led to the cancellation or postponing of many large events including The Masters, the 2020 Summer Olympics, NCAA Tournament, Coachella, SXSW, the Winter X Games, Stagecoach, Ultra Music Festival in Miami, and more. The NBA, NHL, and MLS have temporarily suspended their seasons.

The coronavirus mainly comes from animals and a majority of those who were infected early either worked at or frequently visited the Huanan seafood wholesale market in Wuhan, according to The Guardian. The virus is similar to Severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) and Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome (Mers).

The Wuhan coronavirus is transmitted from person to person through “droplet transmission.” That means an infected person can pass the virus by sneezing or coughing on another person as well as by direct contact.

While a majority of the cases have been detected in the United States and China — with more than 3,000 deaths in the United States which surpasses the death toll of the September 11 terrorist in New York City — it has now reached many countries around the world. It has also been confirmed in Italy, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, and many other eastern countries.

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