County’s COVID-19 cases remain low, but quarantine orders are on the rise
This week’s Eagle County COVID-19 report is equal parts positive and concerning.
The good news is the county remains in the yellow stage of the state’s risk meter and only 45 new cases have been reported over the past 14 days. Eagle County Emergency Management Director Birch Barron delivered the numbers in his weekly report to the county commissioners.
“We are doing pretty good at keeping the new cases to a minimum,” Barron said, noting that disease spread has leveled off from an uptick following the Labor Day holiday and the beginning of the school year. Additionally, severe disease cases have remained low with just one patient hospitalized at Vail Health over the past two weeks.
The bad news, Barron noted, is the fragile nature of the county’s positive trends.
“Over the last week or two, we have seen more people quarantined,” Barron noted. The latest high profile example was announced yesterday when most of the Eagle Valley High School football team went into quarantine due to COVID-19 exposure.
Schools aren’t the only spots were quarantine groups are emerging, Barron noted.
“In a lot of these cases, when you see people quarantined, they are tied back to behaviors that are not safe,” Barron said.
Those behaviors include large social gatherings and refusal by some people who test positive for COVID-19 to identify the people with whom they have been in close contact. When that happens, public health officials aren’t able to reach out to people who have been exposed, which means additional exposure by people who are unaware they have been exposed to the disease.
“That is the type of thing that makes our school year very fragile,” Barron said. He added it is also the type of behavior that could threaten a successful winter season.
“We know we can do it (open the local economy for the ski season) safely, but only if everyone is playing their part,” Barron said. He noted that the actions of a small group of people who refuse to comply with the five commitments of containment could take the county back to the red zone of the COVID-19 risk meter.
The commissioners noted that a COVID-19 public health order remains in effect that requires COVID-19 precautions by residents and visitors. Barron said public health officials and their law enforcement partners don’t relish using enforcement measures but will do so when they find people who knowingly violate the health order.
“It is health and safety on the line,” Barron said.
Commissioner Jeanne McQueeney said that county residents have shown their willingness to work together to combat COVID-19 and noted stressing the message that if the county can get into the green stage before ski season starts, there’s a better chance for a successful winter.
“We just need everyone to rally to get it into the green,” McQueeney said. “We can do it, we just need to get to it.”
This week’s Eagle County COVID-19 trend data can be viewed at ecemergency.org
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