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179 Yellowstone NP employees test negative for COVID-19 in 2nd round of tests

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Posted at 11:53 AM, Jun 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-11 13:53:26-04

MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS — Yellowstone National Park officials are reporting that after conducting COVID-19 surveillance testing on employees for the second straight, all tests came back negative.

Health officials from Park County, Montana, tested 179 employees from the National Park Service and concession companies operating in the park on June 4 and June 5.

This brings the total number of employees tested in the past 10 days to 222.

Moving forward the park will continue to test employees in partnership with both Montana and Wyoming, according to a news release.

“I want to thank the states of Wyoming and Montana and our county health officials for partnering with us to increase surveillance testing capacity,” said Superintendent Cam Sholly. “This proactive testing is the only way for us to detect cases early and respond quickly to any employees who have the virus.”

The surveillance testing will continue throughout the summer and target employees who are first responders and/or work directly with the public.

More information about the surveillance testing effort is available in the park’s news release from June 4.

The park also sampled wastewater systems in Gardiner, Mammoth Hot Springs, and Old Faithful between May 18 and May 26.

Lab results indicated 0% prevalence of COVID-19 in those systems during those time frames.

Additional samples will be taken on June 13 and 15, which will give the park a better idea of COVID-19 increases due to reopening.

Visitation Statistics for June 1-10, 2020

Vehicle counts2020 percent of 2019 visitation
June 1-10, 2020June 1-10, 2019
Parkwide42,07578,19054%

Wyoming Entrances

(East and South)

14,72822,13967%

Montana Entrances

(North, West, Northeast)

27,34756,05149%

Backcountry camping begins June 15

The park will begin issuing backcountry permits on June 15. All backcountry permits will be issued via email or phone through the Central Backcountry Office.

Yellowstone National Park maintains a Backcountry Situation Report for information about trail conditions, openings, and closings.