190 employees negative as Yellowstone conducts fourth round of testing

Ron Richter - Sheridan Media

In the fourth round of surveillance testing on Yellowstone employees, all tests came back negative. On June 17 and 18, National Park Service employees, with assistance from local and state health officials, tested 190 employees from the NPS and concession companies operating in the park.  

According to a NPS press release, initially, one concession employee tested positive and was immediately isolated. The employee was retested twice more, and both tests came back negative. The state health office described the initial test as a “false positive” and the employee has returned to work. According to the county health officer, a small percentage of “false positives” are normal in widespread surveillance testing. 

The total number of Yellowstone-employee tests completed since late May is 577. The week of June 22, 162 tests were conducted, and those results are pending. Moving forward, the park will continue to test employees in partnership with Montana and Wyoming. 

As introduced in the park’s reopening plan, this surveillance testing will continue throughout the summer and target employees who are first responders and – or work directly with the public.

Additionally, the park sampled wastewater systems in Gardiner, Mammoth Hot Springs, and Old Faithful between June 13 and 16. Lab results indicated 0% prevalence of COVID-19 in those systems at the time they were sampled.

Additional samples were taken at Mammoth Hot Springs and Old Faithful between June 27 and 29, which may give the park a better idea of COVID-19 increases due to reopening.  

Visitation for Wyoming Entrances (June 16-29)

Vehicle traffic from June 16 -29, of the Wyoming entrances (East and South) was 99% of the traffic for the same dates for those entrances in 2019. The park recorded 37,480 vehicles through the Wyoming entrances June 16-29, 2020, versus 37,774 vehicles on June 16-29, 2019.

Visitation for Montana Entrances (June 16-29)

Vehicle traffic entering the Montana entrances (North, West, and Northeast) on June 16-29, was 85% of the same days in 2019. The park recorded 82,494 vehicles through the Montana entrances June 16-29, 2020, versus 96,504 vehicles on June 16-29, 2019.

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