County officials look at logistics, supplies, more in case local COVID-19 cases spike
While the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases remains low in Grand County, local officials continue to prepare for a sudden spike of infections.
During a Wednesday tour of the emergency operations center, a kind of headquarters for the county’s COVID-19 response team, team leaders emphasized their primary mission: ensuring local health care providers can meet the demand in Grand County.
“All of the measures we’re taking, we’re trying to have a proactive approach,” County Communications Coordinator Alexis Kimbrough said.
In an effort to support that goal, Grand County issued a public health order prohibiting short-term rentals from operating for the next 30 days, except to house essential workers or isolate, on Tuesday.
Kimbrough said the team came to the decision, which prohibits short-term rentals until April 30, based on modeling the spread in Grand County and the recent increase in visitors to the area.
“This is new for us too,” she said of the global pandemic. “We’re doing the best we can and making decisions based on what we feel is the best for the safety and health of the community.”
Recently, the county added a violation form to its website so people can report anyone who they think is violating the public health or executive orders. With the new form, team members are trying to cut down on the number of unnecessary calls to 911, they said.
Aside from making decisions about the county’s response to the pandemic, the team is also coordinating with the county’s various first responders, its towns, health care agencies, volunteers and chambers of commerce to try to ensure a cohesive response across the county.
A logistics division of the team is responsible for sourcing necessary supplies from wherever they can find them and distributing those supplies to essential workers in the county. So far, they have collected gowns, masks and gloves for health care workers, local volunteer efforts and high-risk groups, as well as providing supplies and guidance to local businesses working on their own solutions.
Team members charged with handling logistics are also working on securing space for an isolation care facility in case someone tests positive and needs medical care, as well as an alternate care facility for hospital patients who don’t have COVID-19.
Both facilities would help relieve pressure on the main Middle Park Health hospital campuses, Incident Commander Brad White explained.
Another resource the response team is working to provide is an online real-time symptom tracking database, so people can self-report how they feel and the county can utilize that information in its decision-making, according to County Manager Kate McIntire.
The hope is these efforts will help reduce the spread as much as possible while maintaining the county’s preparedness for a large number of cases, just in case.
On Wednesday, the county reported there were four positive COVID-19 cases in Grand with a fifth case with close ties to the county.
Altogether, 59 coronavirus tests have been performed in Grand County with 53 of those tests coming back negative and four tests awaiting results. Two of the local cases were confirmed as probably positive without tests.
Statewide, there have been more than 3,300 COVID-19 cases with 80 deaths as of Wednesday night.
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