Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2

Colorized scanning electron micrograph of a cell heavily infected with SARS-CoV-2 virus particles (yellow), isolated from a patient sample. The black area in the image is extracellular space between the cells. Image captured at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Maryland.

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More businesses are closing as Jackson Hole sees a surge in novel coronavirus cases.

Teton County saw 11 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours — the biggest single-day spike since the pandemic started, according to data from Teton County’s COVID-19 dashboard.

Although it’s the biggest jump in a 24-hour period, the county’s single-day record for active cases is 46, which was recorded April 13 and 14, the dashboard shows.

With the new cases reported Thursday, the county’s current total for active cases was 31 as of press time.

As more Jackson Hole residents and visitors test positive for the virus, businesses are responding by adjusting operations to minimize the risk of transmission.

The Children’s Learning Center closed its Mercill Avenue facility Tuesday after an individual who had been at the center tested positive for the illness.

CLC notified parents to pick up their children and closed the building to sanitize it and conduct a contact tracing investigation. Once contact tracers identified the extent of the person’s contacts, the Teton County Health Department determined that children in all but one classroom could return Thursday.

“The Health Department has determined that no other classrooms were affected and that all people who were in contact with the virus have been contacted and given further guidance,” Executive Director Patti Boyd told the Jackson Hole Daily.

The child care center has not said whether the positive test was a child or teacher, citing privacy reasons. Either way, it appears that the classroom was isolated from others at the site.

The affected classroom will remain closed for 14 days, but kids and teachers in other classrooms can return.

But even as the Children’s Learning Center reopened, other businesses closed.

According to an Instagram post, Creekside Market shut down operations “out of an abundance of caution.” Owner Nick Bochicchio told the Daily that an employee was possibly exposed to the coronavirus, and that all Creekside employees will get tested this week.

“It’s not worth the risk,” Bochicchio said. “We thought it was best to hit the pause button for a couple weeks, regroup and take advantage of some time.”

He expects that Creekside will be closed for about two weeks, but he said it is too early to tell because employee test results will be a main factor in the reopening timeline.

King Sushi also temporarily closed this week, citing the valley’s increasing caseload in an Instagram statement.

”We have made the tough choice to close our doors due to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in Jackson,” the restaurant’s Thursday morning post read. “Hopefully our community becomes safe enough to open in the near future. Thank you for your support.”

Business owners are facing dicey decisions as the valley bustles with summertime tourists.

“I think everyone in town is realizing that Jackson is much busier than we’ve expected,” Bochicchio said. “It’s just a numbers game. All of us business owners realize that this could happen to any of us.”

Indeed, Snake River Brewing reopened Thursday after deciding to close its dining room on June 30 after two employees tested positive for the coronavirus.

Ted Staryk, owner of the brewery, thanked people for their patience during the closure in a video posted Thursday on the restaurant’s Facebook page.

“It’s important to us here at the brewery that we’re as transparent as possible, especially when it comes to the health and safety of our customers and our staff,” Staryk said in the video. “We feel we’re in a good place now, and we’re ready to reopen. We hope to see you here soon.”

Contact Tom Hallberg at 732-7079 or thallberg@jhnewsandguide.com.

Tom Hallberg covers a little bit of everything, from skiing to long-form feature stories. A Teton Valley, Idaho, transplant by way of Portland and Bend, Oregon, he spends his time outside work writing fiction, splitboarding and climbing.

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