Eagle County issues updated public health order to slow spread of COVID-19 | VailDaily.com
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Eagle County issues updated public health order to slow spread of COVID-19

Order clarifies restrictions on recreational activity, adopts state guidelines on critical businesses

Caution tape is wrapped around Brush Creek Playground in Eagle Ranch. The county's updated public health order prohibits the use of recreational areas with high-touch equipment or that encourage gathering.
Nate Peterson | npeterson@vaildaily.com

Eagle County Public Health and Environment has updated the county’s public health order to help meet several key goals in the local response to COVID-19. The goals are to slow the spread of the virus, ensure Eagle County can maintain the medical capacity and continuity to serve the medical needs of residents, to protect the most vulnerable residents who are at greater risk for severe symptoms, and to establish a plan that will help Eagle County recover, socially and economically.

The new order goes into effect immediately. All community members are strongly encouraged to read the entire order. Revisions in the Eagle County order include, but are not limited to:

Extends time frame until April 30

  • This will facilitate the continuation of social distancing efforts necessary to slow the spread of the virus.
  • This will also help prevent strain on the local health care system and ensure medical resources are available for those who need them most. 

Includes requirements for people who are sick

  • Individuals experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 must self-isolate for seven days from the start of symptoms and 72 hours until fever-free, whichever is longer, and as long as symptoms are significantly improving.
  • These apply to people who are confirmed to have COVID-19, and to those who have symptoms consistent with COVD-19 but have not been tested.

Includes requirements for people who have been exposed

  • Individuals who have been in close contact to someone with symptoms of COVID-19 must self-quarantine for 14 days. 
  • This applies to people in close contact with a person confirmed to have COVID-19, and to people in close contact to someone who has symptoms consistent with COVID-19 but has not been tested.

Adopts state guidelines on critical businesses

  • This new order adopts the same list of critical businesses as defined on page 6 of the state public health order and clarifies social distancing requirements that must be implemented.
  • This requires all businesses allowed to operate under the order to create and visibly post a Social Distancing Protocol, located at the end of the order, explaining how the business is achieving all social distancing, sanitizing and cleaning, and other requirements.
  • All businesses are required to post their protocol by 5 p.m. on April 9.
  • The order recognizes that allowing essential businesses in compliance to operate will provide much needed economic support now, and will facilitate a faster recovery in the months ahead.

Clarifies restrictions on recreational activities

  • The order prohibits the use of recreational areas with high-touch equipment or that encourage gathering. Examples include, but are not limited to, playgrounds, ballfields, basketball courts, tennis courts, golf courses, disc golf courses, skateparks, dog parks, rock parks and climbing walls, pools and spas, and shooting and archery ranges.
  • Dogs are required to be leashed throughout the duration of the order. This will prevent pets from having to be separated by owners, reducing person to person contact and violation of social distancing requirements.
  • Individual outdoor recreation activity, such as hiking, biking or fishing, is still allowed as long as all social distancing requirements are followed.
  • Trails and public lands are open to Eagle County residents only.

Those venturing outdoors are encouraged to remember that Governor Jared Polis has asked all Coloradans to wear masks when they leave the house.

Experts have warned that runners and joggers could be especially susceptible to spreading the virus if not wearing masks.

“If runners and joggers are breathing hard, it could cause any virus released in their breath to travel farther if they are infected,” Linsey Marr with Virginia Tech University told the Denver Post.

Marr researches the airborne transport of infectious diseases and recommended runners and joggers maintain a greater distance than 6 feet.

Law enforcement agencies throughout Eagle County will use a consistent approach for enforcement of the public health order. This will primarily focus on education to bring about compliance, but can also include fines of up to $5,000 for repeat offenders. Violations of the order can be reported to the non-emergency dispatch number at 970-479-2201.

Public Health officials are reminding the community that Eagle County falls under both the local order and statewide orders. The order that is more restrictive in any category is the one that applies. 

“We are collectively doing a great job here in Eagle County. The revisions to this order help clarify the intent for social distancing within essential services, businesses, and recreational activities,” said Heath Harmon, Eagle County director of Public Health and Environment. “We are all interested in when we can relax some of these restrictions. And although we have a number of weeks to go still, we must aim for newly reported deaths and infections to be close to zero, while ensuring mechanisms will rapidly identify and isolate newly infected people, as well as quarantining those with whom they have had close contact.”

In addition, revised guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now encourages people to wear a non-medical, cloth face covering when going out in public. Local officials are urging people not to buy surgical masks, which are needed by health care workers and first responders. Officials are also warning against having a false sense of security when wearing a mask. Maintaining at least 6 feet of distance from others is still required as outlined in this order and is the most effective way to stop the spread of COVID-19, regardless of a face covering.

Information and regular updates are being shared at http://www.ECEmergency.org. The county’s forum for COVID-19 discussions is at http://www.facebook.com/OneValleyVoice. Those with questions not answered through the two previous resources can email covidquestions@eaglecounty.us or call 970-328-9750.


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