2 more Australians who visited Steamboat test positive for COVID-19, bringing total to 7
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Among the group of Australians who spent time in Steamboat Springs and then tested positive for COVID-19 upon returning to Australia, a total of seven have now tested positive, according to Kari Ladrow, director of Routt County Public Health.
On Tuesday, March 17, Ladrow was informed five individuals out of the group of 30 visitors had tested positive, and on Wednesday, the number of positive tests grew to seven.
Ladrow also confirmed the group arrived in Steamboat on March 10 and departed on March 12.
There were no children traveling with the group, Ladrow said. The public health department “has contacted any known establishments the group may have frequented and informed them that if there are staff who may have come in close contact with the group they should self-quarantine for 14 days.”
The Centers for Disease Control defines close contact as being within approximately 6 feet of a COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time, or having direct contact with infectious secretions — like being coughed on — of a COVID-19 case.
Citing state health department guidelines and the large size and extensive activity of the group, Ladrow is not releasing names of specific hotels or establishments. Local officials also emphasized that regardless of where the group stayed or went, the recommendations for all Routt County residents remain the same.
“Priority now is an emphasis on practicing social distancing and self-quarantine measures the public can take to protect the vulnerable for the virus,” Ladrow said in a prepared statement. “It is also imperative that members of the public adhere to the guidelines of the orders established by the governor. If you believe you may have been exposed to anyone from this group or otherwise with COVID-19 virus it is recommended you self-quarantine for 14 days. If a resident is experiencing symptoms they should contact their health care provider first.”
Social distancing means maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet between you and other people. It also means minimizing contact with people, avoiding public transportation, limiting nonessential travel, working from home and skipping social gatherings.
Because it is not known where the seven international visitors contracted the virus, it is now assumed Routt County is an area of community spread.
Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected, according to the CDC.
There are still only two positive cases of COVID-19 in Routt County. Those out-of-state visitors remain in quarantine. There were no new cases on Tuesday. The state release new data daily at 4 p.m. on their website at covid19.colorado.gov, and the Steamboat Pilot & Today also updates its map of Colorado COVID-19 cases at that time as well.
Before immediately heading to the hospital, people who are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 have several resources, including:
- The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is providing a phone line to answer questions from the public about COVID-19. Call CO-Help at 303-389-1687 or 877-462-2911 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for answers in English and Spanish, Mandarin and more.
- UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center offers Ask-A-Nurse, a 24/7 call line staffed by registered nurses who can assess symptoms and provide advice on seeking care. In Routt County, Ask-A-Nurse can be reached by calling 970-871-7878.
- Virtual Visits can be done from the comfort of your home and only require a computer or tablet with a working webcam, speakers and microphone, or a smartphone.
- If patients are experiencing severe symptoms or having difficulty breathing, they should visit the hospital’s emergency department.
Take precautions in everyday life:
- Frequently and thoroughly wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash, or use your inner elbow or sleeve.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Stay home if you’re sick and keep your children home if they are sick.
- Clean surfaces in your home and personal items such as cell phones, using regular household products.
- Be calm but be prepared.
- Employees at businesses and customers are required to wear a mask, according to a statewide public health order.
- Limit distance between non-household members to 6 feet when indoors and outdoors.
- The maximum group size for indoor activities is 10.
To reach Kari Dequine Harden, call 970-871-4205, email kharden@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @kariharden.
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More COVID-19 booster shots are getting approved, health officials are saying people can mix or match the brand of these shots, and vaccines for children between 5 and 11 are closer than ever.