Grand County Public Health to report COVID-19 outbreak at Winter Park Resort
Editor’s note: This article has been updated with comments from Grand County commissioners’ Tuesday meeting.
Grand County Public Health revealed Monday night that the agency will report to the state this week there has been a COVID-19 outbreak among workers at Winter Park Resort.
In a joint statement, Grand County Public Health and Winter Park Resort said that by reporting the outbreak to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, more resources will be made available to suppress COVID activity among resort employees.
“CDPHE and WPR are proactively enacting protocols that allow more state resources to be used in aid of suppressing COVID-19 activity in the WPR employee group, including increased testing and this announcement,” the statement reads.
Reports of rising infections among resort employees arose late last week or earlier, and a handful of comments on posts to the county health department’s Facebook page have pointed to a recent spike in infections among resort workers.
Grand County Medical Director Dr. Darcy Selenke defended the timing of the statement’s release during Tuesday’s Board of County Commissioners meeting after early talk of the outbreak led to criticism online.
Selenke said that when the resort saw an increase of cases, health officials used their resources to conduct the investigation before issuing Monday’s statement. She emphasized that the process had to be complete and accurate before information could be shared.
“We’re sorry it doesn’t always meet the expectation of the public’s timeline, but we give every single situation our due diligence and at the same time we’re putting a lot of stress on getting that vaccine out,” Selenke said.
According to Grand County Public Health, the resort, county health department and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will continue to monitor the outbreak until 28 days have passed with no new outbreak-related COVID-19 positive cases.
“Through case investigations, it has been determined that these cases have not been traced back to transmission through interaction with visitors but, rather, from social gatherings outside of the workplace and congregate housing,” the joint statement reads. “WPR has worked closely and been transparent with state and local public health authorities since the onset of the pandemic and in recent weeks to navigate these dynamic circumstances.”
According to the statement, the resort has had an onsite-testing site since December and been using GCPH testing sites.
The statement added that GCPH, the resort and the Grand County Board of Health “will utilize all local and state resources” to address these cases and support the community.
The statement says, “Throughout the past few months, WPR has implemented robust contact tracing among employees which has helped GCPH and a CDPHE contact tracing support team has been enlisted as needed during this outbreak. WPR has also enlisted a CDPHE epidemiology/hygiene consult to further investigate changes that could be made that could suppress COVID activity among employees.”
According to information available on the county’s website, Grand had recorded 126 new cases over a seven day period — or 812 per 100,000 population — as of Sunday.
The infection rate over the last week is the highest the county has experienced since the pandemic began. Five people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, and two county residents have died because of COVID.
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Editor’s note: The following letter to the community was submitted to the Sky-Hi News by Winter Park Mayor Nick Kutrumbos.