Local News

COVID 19 Comes To The Grand Canyon National Park

March 31, 2020


The Grand Canyon National Park has seen its first case of COVID 19. According to an email from the Park Superintendent which was posted on the Tusayan Fire District’s Facebook Page the Park was made aware on March 30th that a local Grand Canyon Village resident tested positive as a confirmed case of COVID 19. The email goes on to say as a precautionary measure the resident has been in self isolation since March 25th.

Tusayan Fire Chief Greg Brush tells the Watchdog he has been in close contact with county and state health officials however they did not tell him about the Grand Canyon incident. Instead, he learned about it when someone forwarded him the email from the Park Superintendent.

Brush says there are no reported cases of COVID 19 in Tusayan itself. Paramedics have responded to several calls with COVID 19 like symptoms but Brush says in those cases tests proved to be negative for the virus.

Chief Brush is among those who have called for the closure of the park.

His letter to the park Superintendent says in part:

“We’re at the very beginning of this pandemic. The message is to flatten the Curve, yet this is not the case in Tusayan. Hotels are still open and the tourism is continuing at a surprising level. There are more hotel rooms in Tusayan than at Grand Canyon, and yet we have a much, much smaller EMS staff and budget. Since we are seeing our COVID-19 calls increasing even in this early stage, the obvious end result is that our Firefighters/EMT/Paramedics will be unnecessarily exposed to COVID-19 from non-residents/tourists.”

Red Feather Properties has also called for a closure. It has closed its hotel but not every other hotel operator has followed suit.


A Message From the Grand Canyon Acting Superintendent:

Good afternoon, everyone.

On March 30, 2020, we were made aware that a local Grand Canyon Village resident tested positive as a confirmed case of COVID-19 infection. As a precautionary measure, the resident has been in self-isolation as of March 25. We have consulted with NPS Office of Public Health and have taken appropriate public health actions to minimize the risk of the virus spreading.

We would like to remind everyone that that symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to many other illnesses, and as with other illnesses, everyone is encouraged to stay home when feeling ill. The park and NPS Office of Public Health are monitoring guidance from state and federal public health authorities and will provide any additional updates as they become available.

We urge everyone to become familiar with the information on the CDC website to learn how to prevent illness and recognize the symptoms of COVID-19. Additional information for NPS employees is provided on the All DOI Employees SharePoint site. As a reference, Coconino County Health and Human Services Department has also issued guidance for confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases.

We understand many of you may have questions or concerns; we encourage you to share these with your supervisors, safety officer, or leadership. Your welfare is our primary concern.



Mary  Risser
Acting Superintendent
Grand Canyon National Park