Colorado health officials strongly advise all visitors and residents of Eagle, Summit, Pitkin and Gunnison counties to minimize social contact | SteamboatToday.com
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Colorado health officials strongly advise all visitors and residents of Eagle, Summit, Pitkin and Gunnison counties to minimize social contact


Nicole Miller
Summit Daily News
Gov. Jared Polis speaks about coronavirus in Colorado on March 10.
Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post

DILLON — The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment on Sunday, March 15, issued a statement asking residents and visitors of four mountain communities to “minimize their contact with other people” in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“Anyone who has been in Eagle, Summit, Pitkin or Gunnison counties in the past week should minimize all contact with other people, whether or not they are experiencing symptoms,” the statement said.

Those who are experiencing symptoms — including a cough, fever and shortness of breath — should call their health care provider and must be isolated for at least seven to 10 days after the onset of symptoms, according to the release. People who are ill should only leave isolation after their symptoms improve and they don’t have a fever for 72 hours.

Residents of those counties and anyone who has visited those counties in the past week are asked to do the following, whether or not they are experiencing symptoms:

  • Work from home, if possible
  • Only go out for necessities, such as the grocery store and pharmacy
  • Maintain distance of 6 feet from others
  • Travel only in a private vehicle

As of Sunday afternoon, Routt County had only two of the state’s 131 positives cases.

Intervention efforts to limit the spread of the virus have increased on a daily basis, originally starting with a recommendation from the governor on Wednesday for people 60 and older, or with underlying health conditions, to avoid traveling to the High Country, where localized outbreaks in Eagle and Pitkin counties threatened to overwhelm health care services in those communities.

The statement appeared to blindside the ski industry, and resorts across the state sent messages to their customers committing to stay open during the busy spring break period.

Things changed quickly Saturday afternoon, when Vail Resorts announced it would close its mountains across North America. Alterra Mountain Co. and independently owned ski areas quickly followed suit.

On Saturday night, Polis issued an executive order directing the state’s nearly 30 ski areas to close for at least one week through March 22.

In a written statement, Polis called the decision “agonizing” and said he would “take solace in knowing that … we will be saving the lives of hundreds, perhaps thousands of Coloradans in the days and weeks ahead.”

COVID-19: Follow our coverage

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 cohelp@rmpdc.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 Routt County public health order.


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