Colorado public health officials to Eagle County residents, visitors: Minimize all social contact |

Colorado public health officials to Eagle County residents, visitors: Minimize all social contact

Vail Resorts announced March 14 that operations will be suspended at all of their North American resorts starting Sunday, March 15.
John LaConte |

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment on Sunday issued a statement asking residents and visitors to Eagle County, and three other mountain communities, to “minimize their contact with other people” in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“Anyone who has been in Eagle, Summit, Pitkin or Gunnison counties in the past week should minimize all contact with other people, whether or not they are experiencing symptoms,” the statement said.

Eagle County, following updated testing numbers from Saturday, now has 24 presumed positive cases of COVID-19, the second-most among Colorado counties. The total number of positive cases to date to 131. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says all presumptive positive cases are now considered positive. CDC is no longer performing confirmatory testing.

The test results include 25 from the state lab and five from private testing facilities that are receiving samples from health care providers. The state can confirm completed test results on 758 people by the state lab since testing started on February 28. Private labs are not required to report negative numbers to the state.

Those who are experiencing symptoms — including a cough, fever and shortness of breath — must be isolated for at least 7-10 days after the onset of symptoms, according to the release. People who are ill should only leave isolation after their symptoms improve and they don’t have a fever for 72 hours.

Eagle County residents and visitors are asked to do the following, whether or not they are experiencing symptoms:

  • Work from home, if possible
  • Only go out for necessities, such as the grocery store and pharmacy
  • Maintain distance of 6 feet from others
  • Travel only in a private vehicle

Intervention efforts to limit the spread of the virus have increased on a daily basis, originally starting with a recommendation from the governor on Wednesday for people 60 and older, or with underlying health conditions, to avoid traveling to the high Country, where localized outbreaks in Eagle and Pitkin counties threatened to overwhelm health care services in those communities.

The statement appeared to blindside the ski industry, and resorts across the state sent messages to their customers committing to stay open during the busy spring break period.

Things changed quickly Saturday afternoon, when Vail Resorts announced it would close its mountains across North America. Alterra Mountain Co. and independently owned ski areas quickly followed suit.

On Saturday night, Polis issued an executive order directing the state’s nearly 30 ski areas to close for at least one week.

In a written statement, Polis called the decision “agonizing” and said he would “take solace in knowing that … we will be saving the lives of hundreds, perhaps thousands of Coloradans in the days and weeks ahead.”

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