Page Mayor Levi Tappan urges community to stay calm as anxiety builds around coronavirus

Photo courtesy of City of Page.

'There is no recommendation to cancel mass gatherings, close schools, or change normal business activities'

By Krista Allen
Lake Powell Chronicle

PAGE – Page Mayor Levi Tappan is urging the community to remain calm in the face of fear about the spread of novel coronavirus in the U.S.

Tappan also urged the community to protect themselves and others from COVID-19 by taking common sense precautions such as handwashing and staying home if sick.

“I strongly urge all community members to remain informed about COVID-19 and to keep the risks involved in context and in focus,” Tappan wrote in a statement to the Lake Powell Chronicle on Saturday evening. “I urge everyone to remain calm and to take a rational approach to your preparations should this disease affect our community.

“At this point, everything that can be done at the city government level has been done and we will continue to work closely with government health officials.”

Tappan said should COVID-19 impact Page, the city government is prepared and ready.

“The city has remained somewhat silent up to this point as a means to rationally observe what is occurring within our state that may affect our community and be ready to respond appropriately without adding to already mounting fears,” Tappan explained. “This is not to say that the city has not been diligently preparing for a possible outbreak and associated outcomes of widespread infections.”

There are now 12 coronavirus cases in Arizona, according to the latest update by the Arizona Department of Health Services (five in Pinal County, four in Maricopa County, two in Pima County, and one in Graham County).

A total of 183 people were tested: one case was travel-related and eight were from person-to-person contact. Fifty (50) cases are still pending and 121 were ruled out.

“To the contrary, the city administration and I have been working for weeks with our state and county health departments,” Tappan said, “as well as (Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s) office and other government entities to ensure that we are properly informed about the risks of COVID-19.”

Tappan went on to say that he, along with other entities like Coconino County District 5 Supervisor Lena Fowler’s office, has been working to ensure that the local public safety and other essential services are prepared should an outbreak occur.

“There is a large amount of fear and misinformation circulating within our community from multiple sources, which is only adding to fears and doing nothing to prevent, or (to) mitigate the actual problem,” Tappan said. “The health and safety of our community members is my primary concern.”

COVID-19 resulted in countless changes to daily life, with schools, colleges, and universities across the U.S. – including across the Navajo Nation – being closed, travel being upended, and events being cancelled or postponed. Tappan said state, county, and local government offices though remain in operation without interruption.

“There is no recommendation to cancel mass gatherings, close schools, or change normal business activities,” Tappan said. “There are recommendations to practice social distancing, increase proper handwashing, and to stay home if you are sick.”

And stores remain open here, such as Walmart and Safeway, where there are shortages of items like hand sanitizer and toilet paper.

“But otherwise, there is plenty of food and other necessities on the shelves,” Tappan said. “Even so, these items can still be easily purchased online. I urge residents to make reasonable preparations, but not let fear govern their shopping habits.”

He added, “Please keep in mind, while shopping, that many of our residents are on a tight budget and are unable to shop in large quantities or (to) stock up on future needs. So, in-store shortages create hardships for others.”