San Juan County’s COVID success — keep it up!

The United States hit a very grim milestone on Jan. 19, reaching a total of 400,000 deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic. The night before his inauguration, Joe Biden’s Presidential Inaugural Committee held a memorial service in memory of the lives lost.

San Juan County has fared better than the majority of the country, thanks in massive part to the dedication of the local community in social distancing, wearing masks and washing their hands.

San Juan County Department of Emergency Management Director Brendan Cowan said the following in an email to media on Jan. 18:

“Want a clear sign that the sacrifice we islanders are making to fight COVID is paying off?

“At the moment, San Juan County has the lowest rate of total cases per 100,000 people of any county in the contiguous United States. The only Counties with lower rates are the most remote areas of both Hawaii and Alaska.

“That’s right, San Juan County has the third-lowest overall COVID rate per 100 thousand people of anywhere in the United States. Not only that, but we’re ahead by quite a bit.

“In addition, San Juan County is the second largest County in America to have not recorded a single COVID fatality.

“It’s not a competition of course, but given how difficult this has been, it is great to get some concrete evidence that all we’re doing matters.

“There are lots of reasons for this success, and they’re all important- but the biggest one by far is the way our community has pulled together to keep the islands safe.

“And the most vital thing as we move forward? To keep it up.”

On Jan. 22, the county reported a single case of COVID over the prior week, two more were added over the weekend, bringing the county’s total as of Jan. 25 to 99.

Kudos to the island community for keeping yourselves and your neighbors safe from the pandemic for nearly 10 months. We encourage everyone to keep it up.

We know it’s been difficult staying so diligent but it is imperative that we stay as careful as we can be until we’re all able to move beyond COVID. Remember to get your flu shot; stay home with your household family; do not travel off-island; don’t hold gatherings indoors with others; cover your face; wash or sanitize your hands often and avoid touching your face; and do not have friends or family visit from off-island.

Together, as a community, we will get through this.


• San Juan County,

• Washington State Department of Health,

• Washington State COVID Response,

• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,