SM County Board of Commissioners & Health: A Holiday Message, (Stay Safe!)

SM County Board of Commissioners & Health: A Holiday Message, (Stay Safe!)

For more information surrounding COVID resources, testing and the concern form, visit here.

For more information surrounding the state’s COVID-19 dial, visit here.

As we enter the darkest days of the year, it is time to cherish the holiday memories of the past and know that after this pandemic, we can once again experience the traditional joys of holidays with family and friends.

Although we understand how challenging it is, we are asking that everyone across San Miguel County increase your diligence to keep yourselves, your families and your neighbors safe and healthy this holiday season. Currently, the COVID-19 numbers in our county are some of the highest in Colorado.

As a state, Colorado was able to increase transmission controls such as mask wearing and social distancing during Thanksgiving. As a county, however, our numbers continue to increase with no sign of slowing, placing us in a precarious position as we approach the upcoming holidays. As the county’s Board of Health, in consultation with our public health director, State of Colorado officials and our local team of expert advisors, we have determined that the safest course for our community is to align with the State’s direction to maintain Level Red – Severe Risk restrictions until our county’s numbers are consistently declining for at least two weeks.

We understand that this is painful for our businesses and our residents. However, we make this decision based on clear evidence from across the state and throughout the country that staying at home and gathering only with your immediate household is the best way to decrease infection rates. In doing so, we can reduce restrictions more rapidly. Based on these fast, we believe that by keeping current capacity restrictions in place and eliminating gatherings outside our households for the next few weeks we will be able to have a more successful January, February and March. By taking these actions now, we hope to improve our chance of keeping our local businesses and ski area open all winter.

As a county, we took swift actions when the pandemic first hit. As one of the first counties to issue a stay-at-home order, we kept our numbers low. By summer, we were able to slowly reopen and many of our businesses had a successful season despite the pandemic. We also know many businesses and residents continue to struggle.

We have worked diligently with the state and our community partners to bring much needed assistance to those who need it. Our food banks stayed stocked and community nonprofits and donors stepped up with deep generosity. The county and towns stretched budgets and successfully secured close to $5 million in grant funding, of which approximately $4 million is going to our small businesses. Throughout Colorado, this is the largest distribution to residents per capita. If we stay diligent, we are confident that we can all survive the darkest weeks of this pandemic and emerge as the days get longer in a better position to stay open until we see the end.

This week, the United States surpassed 300,000 deaths from COVID-19. At this point, many of us have been personally affected by the death of a family member, friend or well-known individual due to COVID-19. In San Miguel County, Public Health Director Grace Franklin and her team of local public health heroes have worked nonstop since March to provide steady guidance. Through the combination of public health policies, your actions and luck, our COVID-19 deaths remain at zero, so far. Nevertheless, we mourn the passing of beloved community members from other causes and encourage everyone to check in on friends and family as much as possible.

We continue to strive to find that delicate balance between public health and our local economy. We use data collected locally. We consult with local experts and stakeholders, neighboring counties and our partners at the state in order to make the most informed decisions possible. We are deeply humbled by all of the sacrifices that many of you have made and continue to make to help us all stay safe.

Finally, we ask that each of you, residents and visitors alike, find your own way to shed a little light in the upcoming weeks. Please shop locally, order take-out or delivery, help a neighbor and celebrate the holidays outdoors with friends and family members. Wear a mask when within 6 feet of others or inside public spaces. Although our timeline is still uncertain, we can now see the light at the end of the tunnel.

As your Board of Health, we pledge to continue to prioritize public health with the needs of our local economy in mind by using the best information we have available to us. During these dark days, we ask that we all prioritize compassion, while working to protect our community members.

With deep appreciation,

San Miguel County Board of County Commissioners & Board of Health

Hilary Cooper
Kris Holstrom
Lance Waring

Public Health has confirmed 13 new positive cases of COVID-19 from test results received from December 16 and 17. Of these cases, all 13 are residents and all actively contagious cases are currently in isolation. There have been 357 total COVID cases among residents to date with 43 active cases. To learn more about the County’s current COVID-19 metrics, please visit the County COVID-19 dashboard.

•ˆ60-year-old male, no additional information available at this time
• 60-year-old male, resident, symptomatic, community
• 42-year-old female, resident, symptomatic, community
• 40-year-old male, resident, symptomatic, workplace
• 39-year-old female, resident, asymptomatic, community
• 37-year-old male, resident, asymptomatic, household
• 33-year-old female, resident, no symptom information available at this time, household
• 28-year-old male, resident, symptomatic, social
• 25-year-old female, resident, symptomatic, community
• 24-year-old female, resident, symptomatic, workplace
• 16-year-old female, resident, symptomatic, social
• 12-year-old female, resident, symptomatic, social
• Infant, resident, symptomatic, household

San Miguel County will continue posting caseload updates at least twice a week. The next update will be published on Tuesday, December 22.

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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