Harmon: It’s time to adapt
As you’ve seen, Gov. Polis has approved our exemption request to start the very slow process of rolling back some of the restrictions established in state public health orders. As we look ahead, these are three key components of the rollback we will be focusing on.
Your support, and your individual responsibility is paramount to our success. What you do has a direct impact on what the next four weeks will look like in our community. Keep your eyes peeled in the coming days for our Transition Trail Map with details on how our public health orders will be rolled back and when.
In the meantime, please continue to be vigilant in protecting yourself, your family, and your community. Take a personal pledge to follow the Five Commitments of Containment.
- I will maintain 6 feet of social distance
- I will wash my hands often
- I will cover my face in public
- I will stay home when I am sick
- I will get tested immediately if I have symptoms
We know that our community has many opinions on how we get back to life. While some are beyond ready to roll back restrictions, other community members have voiced concerns or fears. Our approach throughout the response has always been community-focused and collaborative.
We consult regularly with our medical community and our first responder partners. We have also sought to ensure we protect the public’s health while keeping an eye on other concerning trends that will also have a lasting impact on the health and welfare of our friends and neighbors.
During the past four weeks, there has been a sharp rise in requests for behavioral health support and economic assistance. In short, we are hurting as a community and we need to be prepared to take a collective step forward. We can’t wait for cases to get to zero; quite frankly that won’t likely happen until a vaccine is available. We really do need to adapt, begin to transition, and remain steadfast in accomplishing a community-based mission that helps us heal and recover together.
National guidance recommends a decrease of just two weeks to start rolling back public health orders. We have seen a sustained decrease in new cases of COVID-19 for the last four to five weeks and expect cases to level off at a lower level than we will likely see throughout this process. Our public health team is prepared to aggressively investigate new cases. The local medical system has the capacity to test anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19. All of these accomplishments are major steps to rolling back orders.
For businesses that are allowed to start reopening as of April 27, please review the Business Social Distancing Protocol and start to consider how you can adapt to a new normal in creative ways that still meet the minimum requirements to protect employees and customers alike.
For individuals, gatherings of up to 10 people are OK as of April 27, but still require some responsible choices. In these circumstances, continue to maintain your distance from people outside of your immediate household. Remember, we are connected as a community through the choices we make individually.
For everyone, let’s focus on our community for now. Let’s take this step forward together and help ensure we don’t have the added pressure of visitors or tourists. We need a locals-only approach for now. We will ensure new public health orders limit the likelihood of visitors and we want you to do the same. We should hold back for a bit longer on inviting friends to come to visit from communities outside of Eagle County.
Let’s lace up our running shoes or hiking boots, make a commitment to one another that we’ll each do our part and stay safe in this marathon. Together we will accomplish getting back to life and energizing our economy.
Heath Harmon is the director of Eagle County Public Health and Environment.