Grand Canyon National Park closed due to COVID-19 pandemic

A short walk or free shuttle bus ride from the main parking areas at Grand Canyon Visitor Center, Mather Point provides a spectacular view of Grand Canyon. ( NPS/M.Quinn )

Officials with the National Park Service say Grand Canyon National Park will be closed until further notice.

In a statement, National Park Service officials say they received a letter on Wednesday from Coconino County officials, recommending the national park be closed completely.

On Tuesday, a confirmed case of COVID-19 was reported at the Grand Canyon. On Tuesday night, Coconino County officials reported 82 confirmed cases of COVID-19 within the county. The Grand Canyon is located within Coconino County.

The decision by National Park Service officials to close the park will take effect immediately. As recently as Wednesday morning, park officials have kept the Grand Canyon open, albeit with limited services due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

On CoronavirusNOW.com, you'll find extensive coverage about COVID-19, including breaking news from around the country, exclusive interviews with health officials, and informative content from a variety of public health resources.

COVID-19 Symptoms

Symptoms for coronavirus COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. These, of course, are similar to the common cold and flu. 

Expect a common cold to start out with a sore or scratchy throat, cough, runny and/or stuffy nose. Flu symptoms are more intense and usually come on suddenly, and can include a high fever. 

Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear more slowly. They usually include fever, a dry cough and noticeable shortness of breath, according to the World Health Organization. A minority of cases develop pneumonia, and the disease is especially worrisome for the elderly and those with other medical problems such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes or heart conditions.

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Right now there's one big difference between flu and coronavirus: A vaccine exists to help prevent the flu and it's not too late to get it. It won't protect you from catching the coronavirus, but may put you in a better position to fight it.

To protect yourself, wash your hands well and often, keep them away from your face, and avoid crowds and standing close to people.

And if you do find yourself showing any of these flu or coronavirus symptoms - don't go straight to your doctor's office. That just risks making more people sick, officials urge. Call ahead, and ask if you need to be seen and where.