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Esmeralda one of just four COVID-free counties in the U.S.

Published: Oct. 16, 2020 at 7:44 PM PDT
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ESMERALDA COUNTY, Nev. (KOLO) - Through the first seven months of the Coronavirus pandemic, Esmeralda County is in rare company as one of just four counties in the nation to not yet confirm a positive case.

The others, as reported by ABC News, are Loving, Texas, Skagaway, Alaska and Kalawao, Hawai’i.

“It’s surprising. I know it’s not going to be that way forever," said Tim Hipp, Esmeralda County Commissioner for District 1. "We haven’t done anything special, we’ve been following the rules the Governor set out.”

Esmeralda, population 981, has roughly .3 people per square mile, the second-least densely populated county in America.

“Those of us who live out here, live out here for a reason," said Hipp. "We like to be on our own. We’re natural self-distancers.”

Hipp believes a positive case is bound to arrive in Esmeralda county before the pandemic is all said and done. While in rare air this far into it, he’s hesitant to celebrate the impressive stat.

“It makes me nervous talking about it because I feel like we’ll jinx this," said Hipp. "It’s nerve-racking, once it does come in, how it’ll affect us.”

There are zero medical facilities within Esmeralda County. Hipp says residents seek care in places like Las Vegas. He adds Nye County has been a partner is helping provide COVID-19 testing.

“We have one of the largest percentages of elderly populations in Nevada," said Hipp. "When it hits us, it could be significant.”

Thus far, Nevada’s smallest county has managed to stick out on a nationwide scale. But Hipp reiterates: they’re not doing anything extraordinary.

“The guidelines work. We’re following them and we’re COVID-free,” said Hipp. "If everyone in the state does it, then we can get the numbers down.”

Copyright 2020 KOLO. All rights reserved.

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