Public health warns of stricter mandates as COVID-19 cases spike
Tuesday’s two-week COVID-19 case count was the highest it has ever been for Grand County, and the county could revert to stay at home if the number of cases continues to rise.
From Sept. 30 to Tuesday, 52 residents tested positive for the coronavirus. Hospitalizations have also been on the rise with two people hospitalized in the same time period. According to outbreak data from the state, three locations in Grand have active outbreaks.
A reported 21 of the 24 residents at the Cliffview Assisted Living Center have tested positive for COVID-19, but there have been no additional cases since Oct. 7 according to Middle Park Health. Eight of the 18 employees have also tested positive.
Four employees at Grand Fire Station have tested positive, and Our Lady of the Snow Catholic Church in Granby has reported two employees with COVID-19, according to the state. Previously, county officials reported an outbreak at a congregation in Grand but would not say which one.
On Oct. 5, the county’s incident rate moved into the “Safe at Home Level 3” level of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s dial framework. Since then, cases have continued to rise and the county is on the fringe of reaching the “Stay at Home” level.
However, though the county is at level three, the CDPHE frameworks gives the county two weeks to enact mitigation measures to reduce incident rates and get back in compliance. If over the two-week “grace period” the county does not improve its incidence rate, the CDPHE may take actions to move Grand into a more restrictive level.
Grand County Public Health has been in discussions with CDPHE. The Grand Board of County Commissioners is also set to meet with the state next week to discuss the county’s trends.
GCPH said that recent outbreak investigations have determined that the causes of transmission are mostly based on three factors: not wearing face masks indoors, going to work when ill and attending multifamily or large gatherings.
“The current high disease activity is the outcome of irresponsible community behavior,” public health officials said in a news release. “Public health has the ability to track, monitor, put in prevention measures and educate the public, but they cannot be in every business and facility in the county making sure that people are following those procedures.”
Officials emphasized that what the next few months will look like will be determined by community actions. If case counts continue to increase, the county risks going backwards to lower capacity limits for restaurants, gyms, offices, events and more.
To help businesses, employees and employers make better decisions about when someone should stay home, go home, return to work or send a cohort home, GCPH has developed business flowcharts. Those charts are accessible from the COVID-19 dashboard at http://www.co.grand.co.us/COVID19.
As of Wednesday, Grand County has seen 125 resident cases of COVID-19. According to the county’s dashboard, 41.6% of those cases reside in West Grand, 33.6% in Granby, Grand Lake and Hot Sulphur Springs, and 24.8% in the Fraser Valley.
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The Grand Lake Fire Protection District has abandoned a voter-approved effort to run its own EMS transports as the department and county officials re-evaluate how that service might be provided.