March 23, 2020
By Mayor Ann K. Leppanen
The good news is that, as of this morning, there were no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in San Juan County, Utah. Read carefully the next paragraph which is taken directly from the San Juan County Utah Daily Information Report received by me shortly before 5 p.m. today.
Public Health: As of 03/23/2020 the San Juan Public Health Department announces the first San Juan County, Utah resident to test positive for COVID-19. This individual is currently in the Salt Lake Valley and has been staying there for some period of time. The individual experienced travel-related exposure during their time in the Salt Lake Valley and has not been back to San Juan County since their exposure or during their illness. The person indicated that they do not plan to return to their home in San Juan County until after their infectious period has concluded. Due to privacy laws, the San Juan Public Health department will not be releasing more identifying information about the infected individual.
While a resident of San Juan County, this person has not been in San Juan County since exposure or during illness. While this trend of “no diagnosed cases” in San Juan County is not expected to continue, it does support a hope that we are, at least locally, assisting in flattening the curve with social distancing and self-isolation.
I am on the San Juan County COVID-19 Task Force along with other San Juan County officials and department heads. We have a telephone briefing at 9:00 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at which time each official or department head reports changes in status. We also each report in writing to the San Juan County coordinator daily by 3 p.m. any changes in status or in the community. A public report is issued each day.
Today I reported to the Task Force that many of the overnight establishments in Bluff have temporarily closed or are limiting access. The K and C remains open for business (groceries, gas, and take out food) as is the laundromat. Twin Rocks and Comb Ridge Eat and Drink continue with take out food menus. To all business owners in the community and to all employees who are now without employment, there is very little I can say that will ease the pain. I can say that the Bluff Town Council will do whatever we can to help mitigate the damage and to provide assistance.
One question that has been asked by several people is what, if anything, is officially in place to monitor or close overnight rentals. San Juan Public Health Department has not put a policy into place that closes overnight rentals. It would be helpful to me if the overnight B and B, AirBnB owners would tell me if they are actively engaged in rentals.
Another question is what is the policy for public use of the Bluff Senior Center. The Senior Center continues to provide take out meals but the Center itself is closed to the public. Because the Senior Center services seniors and other at risk people, it is extremely important as a community to adhere to the public health recommendations even in the open air parking lot and pavilion.
What about bed and breakfasts and continental breakfasts being served in the overnight rentals and motels? According to Rick Meyers of the Health Department, no sit down dining but guests can take their breakfast back to their room.
If you have questions that you would like directed to Public Health, Lois Young is our liaison. You can contact either Lois or me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or leave a message on the Bluff Town Council phone (435-672-9990). Task Force questions can be directed to me.
In times like this, it is crucial that we work together as a community, a county, and a nation. Thank you all for doing what Bluff does best – taking care of each other.