Grand confirms second outbreak, 12 new cases as both high schools take precautions

Amy Golden and Eli Pace

COVID-19 cases are on the rise in Grand County with a second confirmed outbreak and both high schools in the county facing potential COVID-19 exposure.

On Monday, Grand County Public Health reported 12 new resident cases of COVID-19. After the county reported an outbreak last week at Cliffview Assisted Living in Kremmling, Alexis Kimbrough, a spokesperson for Grand County, said that public health has identified a second coronavirus outbreak connected to a congregation in Grand. She said she could not confirm where in Grand the congregation was, except to say it was not in Kremmling.

Kimbrough explained that officials have not been able to connect the congregation outbreak with the outbreak at Cliffview Assisted Living. There have been at least 19 COVID-19 cases associated with Cliffview with at least 10 of the 12 additional cases Monday connected to the assisted living center. Two or more positive cases identified in a facility or non-household group within 14 days is considered an outbreak.

Also on Monday, East Grand School District leadership was notified of a student with coronavirus symptoms who had been exposed to a person who tested positive.

The case impacts one cohort at Middle Park High School, district leaders said. This cohort moved to online learning Tuesday and will remain in remote learning until test results are received.

If the test is negative, the cohort could return to in-person learning the following school day. If it’s positive, students with close contact to the individual will be required to quarantine and the cohort would not return to in-person learning until Oct. 20 at the earliest.

At this time, the remaining Middle Park cohorts and all other East Grand schools will continue in-person learning as there are no other potential cases.

On the other side of the county, West Grand School District has had two confirmed COVID-19 cases among students after the district was notified of a possible exposure and moved to remote learning last Thursday.

After the test results came back, two students at West Grand High School were confirmed to have tested positive for COVID-19, according to a joint news release issued by the district and Grand County Public Health. This is not considered an outbreak because the students with coronavirus share a household, Public Health Director Brene Belew-Ladue confirmed at the Board of County Commissioners meeting Tuesday.

As a result of the positive tests, West Grand High School will remain in remote learning through Oct. 14 with a tentative plan to return to in-person learning on Oct. 15.

Grand County Public Health individually notified all close contacts of quarantine and testing information on Oct. 2. All students and staff of West Grand High School should monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 even if they are not identified as a close contact.

As of Monday, there have been 99 total cases of coronavirus in Grand and one resident is currently hospitalized due to the virus.

Belew-Ladue added in her update to the county that the local department is reaching out to the state for assistance in handling this uptick in cases.

The West Grand football team’s season opener vs. Norwood has been canceled. School officials said they are making adjustments to the schedule and will provide updates as information becomes available.

At this point, Middle Park High School’s football season-opener remains on the schedule with the Panthers planning to play Saturday.

As has been the case with everything this year, the plan remains fluid and is subject to change if necessary. Also, the Middle Park game won’t be anything like previous years for spectators.

Only fans with tickets issued prior to the game will be allowed inside, and tickets will not be available at the door. All available tickets are being given to football players, as there is a limited number of fans allowed inside the game with seating limited to 25%.

Also, tickets will be color-coded and fans entering the game will get wristbands after they come through the main gate. Fans will be temperature checked and required to wear masks throughout the game.

Tickets will be issued so that ticketholders’ names and phone numbers are recorded on the tickets. This should help with contract tracing if the need arises.

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