Our community needs to change habits and behaviors now in order to save our ski/ride season later.
In the October 23, 2020 amended public health order (in effect on Saturday, October 24, 2020), Summit Public Health used a “scalpel”, rather than a “sledgehammer”, to enact specific, targeted, and strategic measures in order to best address the behaviors, which have been shown to increase the spread of COVID-19 in our community. Summit Public Health is doing this now so the State is not forced to impose more restrictive measures to address rising cases. We have been given an opportunity to change course, and this spring we showed that we could do it.
Below is a breakdown of the why’s, what’s, and how’s of these amended public health orders with lots of helpful links.
How is the State of Colorado measuring when a county needs to tighten or loosen restrictions and how does Summit measure up?
- New cases: How much the virus is circulating in a county. This is where Summit is not doing well. In order to have a common measure across counties small, medium, and large, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment calculates rates based on what they would be if there were 100,000 people. Over 350 cases per 100,000 people puts a county in “Stay at Home”, the lowest level. On October 23, Summit was at 371.2 cases per 100,000 people and in the top 6 counties in the state for the highest two-week cumulative positive cases.
- Percent positivity: Whether there is sufficient COVID-19 testing to capture the level of virus transmission. Testing numbers are going up, which is good. In the last week, there were 522 COVID-19 tests administered in Summit County (there have been 5,381 tests total since March) and 7% returned positive, which falls within the safer-at-home Level 2 threshold. The County is looking to increase testing sites (more to come on that soon) because increased access means more testing and more testing means folks can make decisions supported by facts.
- Impact on hospitalizations: Whether hospitalizations are increasing, stable, or declining. There is better news here with only four hospitalizations since September 15, but we know that folks in the High Country are often transferred to the Front Range so we need to keep an eye on hospital beds around the state. Right now 32% of adult critical care ventilators are in use in the state, and we want to do everything we can not to add to that patient count so there is room to treat everyone who needs it (not just COVID patients).
Summit & State Data & Colorado’s COVID-19 Dial
- Know the facts- Check out Summit County case data and State case data.
- Check out the State COVID-19 dial page for an easy to understand table (about half way down the page) that explains the different milestones for each level.
Do we know what we need to do?
Yes! Yes! Yes! But here is a recap.
- Keep physical distance from folks you don’t live with
- Wash your hands A LOT and avoid touching your face
- Cover your nose and mouth when in a public place, including when you are at work in an office, restaurant, in the stock room at a retailer, etc… and when you are outdoors and you can’t maintain 6 feet of distance. Face coverings are not a substitute for physical distancing, and they are all about keeping your spittle, sneezes, mucus in… yuck- you get the idea. Don’t like face coverings? No one does. If you don’t want to wear them, then make the decision to stay at home, get your groceries delivered, online bank, etc…
- Stay home if you are sick.
- Get tested if you have symptoms identified with COVID.
- Get a flu shot. They are available at Safeway, Walmart, your medical provider, and through Summit Public Health on October 28 at no cost. Let’s not add the flu to this mix.
So if we know what to do, what is the problem?
Most of us feel fatigued and weary about COVID-19, and that is understandable. It’s a health issue, but it has also been politicized. So let’s get down to what is most important- staying healthy, because this virus can hit in surprising ways even if you are really fit, and protecting our economy to make sure every community member can stay employed, put food on their table, care for their family, tend to their mental health, and live in safe housing.
Summit Public Health has identified the behaviors that are resulting in an uptick in cases, and therefore, they have targeting those behaviors with very specific public health orders. Our businesses and schools are staying open, but our behaviors need to change so we can stay healthy and protect our economy. Here is a breakdown.
Personal Group Gatherings
These new public health orders around personal group gatherings are there to address the reality that this is a primary way that COVID -19 is being spread in our community. We are longing for connection, but we are unfortunately also spreading this virus to the people we care about the most due to group gatherings with people from many households. Here is what the public health order says about personal group gatherings:
- No more than 6 individuals indoors from no more than 2 households.
- No more than 10 individuals outdoors from no more than 2 households.
- No more than 10 individuals indoors and/or outdoors from no more than 2 households in a lodging unit, which includes camping sites, hotels, motels, and short term lodging accommodation rentals of 30 days or less.
- Owners and/or entities/management companies responsible for the booking and renting of lodging units must validate and confirm the identity and group size of all renters upon arrival to ensure compliance with this order, which states that there may be no more than 10 individuals indoors and/or outdoors from no more than 2 households in a lodging unit. This means that lodgers should have customers provide the name of everyone in the unit and attest to being from 2 households or less.
- You can file a short term rental complaint in Frisco by calling 970-432-8291 or filing online.
Non-Critical Office-Based Jobs
- Non-critical office-based businesses are required to maintain an in-office occupancy at not more than 25% of total office staff by maximizing use of telecommuting and developing in-office rotation schedules.
- Reminder- When in the office, face coverings must be worn in all common areas and shared office spaces. You can only take off your face covering if you are in your office alone with the door closed.
- Which jobs are critical? Check out the State’s definition on page 27 of this link to the latest Safer at Home public health order.
Restaurants and Bars
- Restaurants and bars must limit party size to 6 people or fewer and a maximum of 2 households.
- At 10:00 pm, all alcohol sales, service, possession, and consumption on premise must end.
- At 11:00 pm, all restaurants and bars must close to on-site dining and occupancy. This closure applies to both outside dining and indoor dining.
- Restaurants and bars must also track the following employee info to support effective contact tracing:
- Current contact information for all employees
- Dates of all shifts worked by all employees, dating back to re-opening
- Other known places of employment for each employee
- Heads up- We’ve heard that some outbreaks can likely be linked to afterhours partying by employees so we urge you to stop that behavior and not become “that person or business”.
- This virus is not more dangerous after 10:00 pm or 11:00 pm, but people do let their guard down after a few drinks and as it gets later into the night. This is a way of mitigating those behaviors.
The goal is to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in order to protect our community’s health, happiness, and economic well-being. Let’s do it.
“When obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal; you do not change your decision to get there.” Zig Ziglar
- Across the county, police departments will be stepping up enforcement of public health orders.
- Call non-emergency dispatch at 970-668-8600 to reach law enforcement across the county.
- As always, call 911 in an emergency.