Eagle County implements more aggressive measures to slow spread of COVID-19
Hotels and employee housing allowed to remain open under new restrictions order
EAGLE — Health officials in Eagle County now suspect that hundreds, if not thousands of community members have contracted COVID-19.
In an order released Wednesday afternoon, health officials shared their belief that a rapid increase in cases is expected based on the numbers of tests pending results. Building on the recent state public health orders closing bars and dine-in restaurants, Eagle County Public Health and Environment has issued a revised public health order designed to slow the spread of the illness in the community.
What is closed?
- Bars, clubs, brewpubs, taverns
- Dine-in sections of restaurants
- Theaters, gyms, performance venues
What may stay open?
- Essential services (which are not limited in number of persons, but require social distancing and other mitigation measures to the extent possible) including pharmacies; gas stations; utility, internet and telephone providers; law enforcement/fire/EMS and health care facilities; hotels, motels and employee housing; public and private transit; post offices and shipping centers; banks and financial institutions and pet stores
- Restaurants, but only for delivery or take-out, and they may not exceed five persons waiting for take-out at any one time
- Retail stores, but they must not exceed 10 persons at any one time and must adhere to other mitigation measures
- Other business services, but they must not exceed 10 persons at any one time and must adhere to mitigation measures
- Places of employment other than restaurants and businesses
Slowing the spread
According to Heath Harmon, director of Eagle County Public Health and Environment, the county has been working closely with numerous health partners on the response, which includes the goal of slowing the spread of the virus.
“With this order, we are further communicating the importance that minimizing social contact and gatherings will have on slowing the spread of COVID-19. Each of us has a role to play in protecting ourselves, our community, and our neighbors that may be at greatest risk for severe disease. Through our consistent individual actions, we can have a collective impact on slowing the spread of this virus and getting our community back to normal as soon as possible,” Harmon said.
Minimizing contact with others and curtailing social and other gatherings is one of the most effective tools for reducing community transmission. County officials are urging against visitors and tourists at this time, as well as asking residents to stay home if possible. The public health order takes strong measures to promote social distancing by outlining which businesses are closed, limited, or excluded by the order. It also restricts the number of people in an event or gathering to less than 10, while specifying specific precautions that need to be in place. The order will remain in effect until April 16, 2020. The full order is available here.
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Although local governments are open, most have closed their offices to the public and many services have been moved online. The county’s medical system has already seen a significant impact and officials are working with partners to prioritize limited resources.
Here are the county’s testing and isolation recommendations:
- If you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 but are not tested you should isolate yourself at home until 3 days after your symptoms end or 10 days from the onset of your symptoms, whichever is longer.
- If you have symptoms and test positive you should isolate yourself at home until 3 days after your symptoms end or 10 days from the onset of your symptoms, whichever is longer.
- If you have been exposed to someone who may have COVID-19 but was not tested you should monitor yourself for symptoms over the next 14 days, reducing your contact with others.
- If you have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 you should self-quarantine for 14 days and monitor yourself for symptoms.
“This order will absolutely bring some extremely tough challenges to our community,” said Harmon. “It will take weeks to see the positive effect of these measures, which will directly rely on how well we can collectively accomplish them. In the meantime, Eagle County government will continue to work closely with our local nonprofits, community-based organizations, and towns to help ensure our community members can obtain the resources they need through these difficult times, as well as plans to help all of us through the social and economic recovery in our future.”
Community updates and resources are being shared at http://www.ECEmergency.org. Those with questions about COVID-19 can call the CO HELP Hotline at 1-877-462-2911.