Harmon: A local response to a global pandemic
If there’s one thing we know for sure with the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s that the situation changes rapidly. Communities all over Colorado and the U.S. are taking aggressive action to protect their residents and Colorado recently took further measures issuing a stay-at-home order effective March 26 through April 11.
We continue to hear from you, and whether it’s questions, concerns or praise, we want you to know we are listening and have some answers to the questions we hear the most.
What do the state orders mean?
The state stay-at-home order does apply to Eagle County. Below are some important changes for Eagle County residents as a result of state’s new order:
- No public or private gatherings are permitted outside your residence — this effectively drops the current gathering of 10 or less down to one.
- Businesses that are not considered “critical businesses” or “critical government function” are not permitted to operate — until April 11.
- Travel is permitted only for necessary purposes, including getting to and from a critical business, critical government function or obtaining food and other household necessities, including medicine.
- It clearly sets expectations for what people who have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, whether tested or not, are to do until their symptoms are gone.
- Local law enforcement will not be questioning travelers or pulling over vehicles at random to investigate why they are traveling.
What do the case counts mean?
- At the time this was drafted, Eagle County had more than 220 confirmed COVID-19 cases. Our Community COVID Monitoring Dashboard is now live for you to visit often at eaglecounty.us/coviddashboard.
- Please remember, not every community has the same access to testing. In fact, our medical provider superheroes are testing more than many other Colorado communities. Despite the limitations in testing locally, we are still outpacing many other jurisdictions.
What is social distancing?
- It’s not just for those feeling sick. We all play a part in spreading the virus, no matter how it affects us. It’s a numbers game — the fewer places you go and fewer people you interact with, the better chance we have of squashing the spread. Let’s spread hope and love, not the virus!
- We’re doing this because we love our parents, we love our neighbors, we love our healthcare professionals and we love our friends. Practice social distancing for the people and things you love. Focus on what you can do.
- The faster we adapt our lifestyle to practice vigilant social distancing, the faster we hope to get back to hugging each other. This means: No playdates or gathering, indoors or outdoors, with friends outside the people you live with. Go to the grocery or pharmacy only when you must. Keep your social connections active — just do it in a virtual format.
- Exercise, walking, hiking and biking outdoors are all definitely still OK. This will help support our physical and emotional health. Doing these activities in groups of people outside your household is simply not best for you or our community at this time.
Many thanks to our friends and neighbors who continue to work in our critical businesses and help provide resources and stability during this time of need.
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We’re here for you and will continue to listen and provide answers. If you are on Facebook, I encourage you to “like” our new community forum, One Valley Voice, where we all belong http://www.facebook.com/OneValleyVoice, or visit http://www.ecemergency.org, the official website for Eagle County’s public safety information.
Heath Harmon is the director of Eagle County Public Health and Environment.
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