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Page, Tuba City report probable COVID cases

Special to the Times | Krista Allen
A hospital staffer walks on East Cedar Avenue outside Tuba City Regional Health Care Corporation on Thursday morning. TCRHCC implemented preventative measures to protect patients, visitors, and the community amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.


The city of Page and the Tuba City Health Care Corporation on Thursday reported a total of four presumptive, or probable, positive cases of the novel coronavirus in the area.

Page Mayor Levi Tappan on Thursday evening said the city was notified of two cases of COVID-19 in the Page-Lake Powell area.

Coconino County Health and Human Services on Wednesday also reported its first confirmed case of COVID-19, which is an individual over the age of 60 from the greater Flagstaff area. This is in addition to the presumptive cases in Page and Tuba City, which have not yet been verified.

The department is investigating to identify other individuals exposed to the illness.

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Tappan said he and the city manager, Darren Coldwell, are in contact and working with the proper health authorities.

“Please keep in mind, during these uncertain and hectic times that it is increasingly important to maintain civility and calm,” Tappan said. “Let’s do our part. Please continue to comply with best practice recommendations on sanitation and prevention.”

Shortly after the city announced the two presumptive cases, Tappan declared a state of emergency for Page.

“This is the best tool available to us to be able to help our residents and businesses,” he said. “As testing catches up to what is occurring on the ground, we can safely assume that more cases will be identified.”

Less than 74 miles southeast of Page, TCRHCC also announced two possible cases of COVID-19.

The hospital started an outdoor triage on Wednesday, after CEO Lynette Bonar received notification of three cases in the Kayenta area. Triaging patients outdoors protects patients, visitors, and the community by restricting access to the hospital, she explained.

“Today, we got a couple of presumptive – possible – (cases),” Bonar told the Navajo Times in an interview Thursday. “Both of them were admitted yesterday.

“So they’re (not) positive that we know of,” she said, “but they’re exhibiting symptoms that we’re worried about. So they’re separated from the regular patients until we know. We’re doing the best we can and support their symptoms.”

Bonar said neither case has been reported to the state of Arizona yet until their test results are in.

“So they are not ‘positive,’” she said. “But we want to keep (healthy) people safe. Our physicians really believe that we’re going to get more patients, so we’re ready for that if we need to be.”

Bonar said the hospital currently has a fair amount of protective equipment for the medical staff, which they are conserving.

“We’ve decreased our dental services because they have a lot of masks,” she explained. “We’re using their stuff … Even with some of our routine appointments, we went ahead and cancelled them so that people aren’t around sick people and we want to keep our vulnerable patients … coming in.”

Bonar said the TCRHCC team has been monitoring the COVID-19 since January and started an incident command on Feb. 24.

“So we’ve slowly been getting ready, looking at our supplies, our manpower, our epidemiology response team, and watching how things have been going,” she said. “Our team has been working really hard. They’ve been doing a lot of hard work getting all this (outdoor triage) together.

“Our No. 1 thing is to keep our staff healthy,” she said. “And keeping them safe because we’re not going to have any providers if they don’t put their stuff on correctly.”


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