COVID Case Update: Safer At Home - Concern!

 Flattening the third wave and cold weather behavior. For up-to-date coronavirus information visit here. For more information surrounding the state’s COVID-19 dial, visit here.

Grace Franklin, County Public Health Director.

Public Health has confirmed three new positive cases of COVID-19 from test results received the 31st of October through the 3rd of November. One 65-year-old nonresident male is symptomatic and in isolation. Two residents, one 50-year-old female and one 24-year-old female are symptomatic from community spread. There have been 107 total COVID cases among residents to date with five active cases. To learn more about the County’s current COVID-19 metrics, please visit the County COVID-19 dashboard.

COVID-19 is increasing in prevalence around the world as cases spike and shows little promise of slowing. Rural areas in particular are being hit hard during the recent weeks and holiday travel will only increase transmission. Unless San Miguel County residents dial back lax actions and change behaviors quickly, the region will see a further increase in COVID-19 cases in the coming weeks.

Social gatherings outside of households have most significantly contributed to the escalation in county cases. Public Health encourages residents to consider their contact budget, the number of people with whom they interact daily, in analyzing their own risk management.

High risk activities that have led to recent spikes include eating indoors and unnecessary travel outside of the people’s communities. If travel is necessary, the five commitments of containment can be utilized to protect family members and residents upon returning home. Public Health websites in neighboring counties or other towns can provide insight into surges occurring.

“On the current epidemic curve, Colorado will likely exceed the April peak in hospitalizations within two weeks,” stated the CDPHE in a press release last week. “If the epidemic curve is not bent, Colorado could surpass intensive care unit (ICU) capacity in January. If contacts increase over the holidays (for example, due to gatherings between multiple households), ICU capacity could be exceeded in December.”

The state limited personal gatherings to 10 people from no more than two households just over a week ago in an effort to flatten the third wave. As hospitalizations are increasing statewide, transmission control is becoming increasingly important in curbing the spread of COVID-19 and eliminating potential strain on the state’s medical capacity.

“We have a limited amount of time to control transmission before we exceed the April peak around mid-November,” said Public Health Director Grace Franklin. “If we don’t seriously focus on our contact budget and limit our exposure, our medical centers and hospitals will inevitably face pressure on resources again.”

Across the state, the dial framework is being tightened as counties seek to control surges in COVID-19 cases. Dial levels are determined by new cases, percent of positivity and the impact on hospitalizations. San Miguel County is currently under the “Safer at Home 2 – Concern” level, noting that residents are safer at home, but able to practice greater social distancing in the outdoors than in confined spaces.

As weather abruptly changes, social distancing practices become increasingly difficult outside and should only be brought inside with appropriate mask wearing in a spacious, ventilated area. Residents should work to minimize indoor group exposure for the coming weeks.

San Miguel County will continue posting caseload updates twice a week. The next update will be published on Friday, November 6.

Five Commitments of Containment:

Wear a mask
Maintain six feet of physical distance
Minimize group size
Wash hands frequently
Stay home when sick and get tested

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