Gila NF Focuses on Public, Employee Health and Safety in Response to COVID-19

Silver City, NM – March 16, 2020 – The Gila National Forest (GNF) is implementing procedures and protocols to protect the health and safety of employees and members of the public during the COVID-19 outbreak in accordance with guidance from federal and state authorities.

“As we work through an unpredictable and rapidly changing situation, health and safety is our number-one priority,” GNF Supervisor Adam Mendonca said. “Our intent for now is to continue to support our communities and fulfill our mission with the least possible exposure to risk.”

Examples of steps the forest is taking include asking customers and other stakeholders to minimize personal contact by calling forest offices for assistance rather than coming in person, postponing non-critical business with the Forest Service and practicing “social distancing” when they encounter Forest Service employees in the field.

Effective immediately, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is implementing a screening process before allowing entry to USDA facilities, including Forest Service buildings. If the answer to any of the following questions is “Yes,” visitors will be denied entry.

1. Have you, someone living in your household, someone you have been in close or frequent contact with, or someone you are caring for been diagnosed with COVID-19 (Coronavirus) or had any contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19?

2. In the last 14 days, have you or someone living in your household, or someone you have been in close or frequent contact with, or someone you are caring for returned from, or made a travel connection through a CDC Level 3 or Level 2 country or State Department Level 3 or Level 4 country?

3. Do you currently have, or have you had within the last 24 hours, any cold or flu symptoms with a fever greater than 100.4 or acute respiratory distress (e.g., shortness of breath and coughing)?

We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you in advance for your patience as we manage our response to the pandemic and do our best to continue operations while minimizing risk.

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