Great Smoky National Park employee tests positive for Covid-19
A spokesperson for Great Smoky Mountain National Park says that an employee of the park tested positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday, March 25. The employee worked in the Cades Cove district of the park, and last came to work on March 19. Since that time, the employee has been in isolation at home, awaiting test results.
The employee did not work in close contact with guests, the park says, though they were in close contact with nine other park employees. In accordance with CDC guidelines, those employees are now in isolation and are not exhibiting symptoms.
Additional NC state park closures due to Covid-19
On Wednesday, North Carolina state parks announced additional park closures due to counties in State of Emergency and continued crowding that does not adhere to social distancing guidelines. Morrow Mountain State Park and Pilot Mountain State Park joined the ranks of NC state parks closed until further notice. Previously closed parks include Lake James State Park, South Mountains State Park, Stone Mountain State Park, Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park, Crowders Mountain State Park, Lake Waccamaw State Park, Hanging Rock State Park, Raven Rock State Park, Fort Macon State Park and Fort Fisher State Recreation Area. The list is updated daily at ncparks.gov.
“Please note that restrooms are closed at all state parks,” NC state parks said in a Facebook post. “We ask that you do everything you can to maintain social distancing guidelines at the parks.”
Southernmost section of Blue Ridge Parkway is closed in response to Covid-19
The southernmost 14 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway were closed on Wednesday, in an effort to prevent the spread of Covid-19. In a statement, the park service said that the parkway would close between mile markers 455 and 469 due to “a continuing effort to support federal, state, and local efforts to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and in coordination with travel restrictions in place from the Easter Band of Cherokee Indians and Great Smoky Mountains Park.”
For now, other sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway are open to visitors. The park service encourages visitors to adhere to guidance from the CDC.
Photo of Morton’s Overlook in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park from Getty Images