Polis says he expects Eagle County will be the first in the state to reopen | SteamboatToday.com

Polis says he expects Eagle County will be the first in the state to reopen

Governor plans to be in the Vail Valley on Thursday or Friday for announcement

VAIL — Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said Monday afternoon that he expects Eagle County to be the first in the state to reopen. Polis, in a live address, said he intends to be in Eagle County on Thursday or Friday for the announcement.

Polis praised the efforts of officials in the county for being able to reopen while also mentioning some of the local luminaries who have died from the virus, among them beloved entertainer Rod Powell, and hotelier Bob Lazier, who died Saturday.

“Eagle County has really gotten their act together,” Polis said. “They now have a sustained decrease for the last 14 days, they’re able to perform testing for all symptoms in Eagle County and the ability to monitor and do contact tracing for cases.”

Eagle County officials, on Saturday, asked the state for permission to reopen businesses and outdoor recreation areas that can meet social distancing requirements. Heath Harmon, local public health director, said that the Vail Valley has now reached a level where everyone who has COVID-19 symptoms can get a test. 

During the past week, Harmon said commercial labs were able to work through a backlog of tests, and results are now coming back consistently within 24 to 48 hours. That, along with the fact that local health providers now have full access to testing for anyone who shows symptoms in Eagle County, means the county has now met the requirements to trigger the relief request, Harmon said. 

Now that Eagle County has seen a sustained decrease in COVID-19 cases for at least 14 days, Harmon said the community will receive greater health benefits from incrementally loosening restrictions. 

“Let’s face it, economically we can also see longer-term public health concerns, behavioral health concerns, as well,” Harmon said. “So what we’re really trying to do is measure the risk in the community with the fact that the spread of the disease has slowed down so much.”

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