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First Known Case Of COVID-19 Confirmed At Grand Canyon


The first known positive case of COVID-19 in Grand Canyon Village has been confirmed. The individual works on the South Rim for one the park’s concessioners. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

The employee worked at the Yavapai Lodge and lived at the Brandt Dorm on the South Rim. That’s according to the company Delaware North that runs the lodge and other facilities. The employee is in self-isolation at another location. He had only worked one day, on March 18, during the past three weeks. The lodge suspended operations four days later.

A Delaware North spokesperson says most of its employees are on leave and no longer at the South Rim.

The National Park Service says no cases have been confirmed among its employees at Grand Canyon and the park remains open to visitors. Nearly all non-emergency services have closed along with several trails.

Calls to close Grand Canyon National Park have grown in recent days in order to protect the approximately 2,500 workers and residents in the area. Ten members of Congress wrote a letter this week to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, and the Navajo and Hualapai nations along with the Coconino County Board of Supervisors have also urged for a park closure.

NOTE: On Wed, April 1, the National Park Service announced it has closed Grand Canyon National Park to all visitors.

Ryan joined KNAU's newsroom as executive producer in 2013. He covers a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a frequent contributor to NPR.
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