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County clerk: Commissioners put election at risk

Poll workers take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as individuals vote at the County Admin Building on Oct. 30. County Clerk Sara Rosene said the election was almost jeopardized after she was exposed to the coronavirus at the Oct. 27 BOCC meeting when mask-wearing precautions were not taken by commissioners.
Amy Golden / agolden@skyhinews.com

The Grand County Clerk said the election was almost jeopardized after she attended the Oct. 27 commissioner’s meeting where the county board did not wear masks.

During County Clerk Sara Rosene’s update to the Grand County commissioners Tuesday, she said she was contacted Oct. 31 by public health and told she had been exposed to a person who tested positive for COVID-19 at the Oct. 27 meeting of the county’s board.

Rosene went on to say that though she wore a mask at this meeting, the commissioners did not. This set off a chain of potential exposures from the two and half hour meeting that could have put election judges at risk.

“That did put us in jeopardy with regards to the election,” Rosene said. “It affected the number of people I had working in my office. It put us in a really precarious position with our election judges.”

Grand County Public Health announced Nov. 1 that a Grand County employee had tested postitive for COVID-19. Following that announcement, Shanna Ganne, who ran unsuccessfully for county commissioner, said on Facebook that she was also potentially exposed at the Oct. 27 commissioners meeting.

During Tuesday’s meeting, which was held online, the commissioners emphasized that they were following the state’s mask mandate and other COVID restrictions as applicable. However, multiple people have said they did not wear masks Oct. 27, and the Sky-Hi News has observed the commissioners not wearing masks at other meetings following the state’s mandate.

“I am glad to hear that you are now supporting the wearing of masks in this building,” Rosene said. “It has not been universally done.”

Commissioner Kris Manguso responded that she had been put on quarantine through Thursday due to a meeting she attended Oct. 29 that included an individual who later tested positive for COVID-19. She said that even though all participants of the seven-person meeting wore masks and that she was 12 feet apart from anyone else, the quarantine still applied.

“Mask or no mask, I was told it doesn’t matter when you’re in the room,” Manguso said. “I think you would have been put on quarantine anyway. We all would have. I don’t understand it. I just know that that’s what happened to me.”

Also on Tuesday, Public Health Director Brene Belew-Ladue explained that during contact tracing, people are asked a multitude of questions. Beyond mask wearing, the number of people in a room, time spent in a room and distance from people all play a factor in determining potential exposure to COVID-19.

“It depends on the interaction,” Belew-Ladue said. “We go into great detail asking people what their interaction was and what was happening.”

Grand County saw its highest ever number of cases in a two week period on Sunday with 52 new cases. Case rate numbers have been spiking toward Stay at Home levels in Grand for the last week.

As of Wednesday, 204 total residents have tested positive for COVID-19 and three people are hospitalized. There are 510 people in Grand currently on quarantine and isolation orders.


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