SM County: Hand-Washing Reduces COVID-19 & Flu Transmission!

SM County: Hand-Washing Reduces COVID-19 & Flu Transmission!

San Miguel County Public Health Dept. announces that hand-washing reduces COVID-19 and flu transmission. Also frontline healthcare workers begin receiving second doses and Uncompahgre Medical Center approved for vaccine distribution.

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.

Throughout the pandemic, similar to cold and flu season, hand-washing has proven to be an effective tool in limiting the spread of the coronavirus. San Miguel County Public Health continues to emphasize the importance of hand-washing as one of the five commitments of containment. Emphasizing hand-washing as a key defense to the virus, many states are observing a notable decrease in influenza cases this season.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, effective hand-washing can reduce the transmission of respiratory illnesses, like colds, in the general population by 16 to 21 percent. Effective hand hygiene is critical when caring for sick housemates or family members, after touching your mask, face, eyes, nose or mouth, coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.

The marked increase in household and community spread we have seen in recent months could be significantly reduced with the reintroduction of proper hygienic practices. The CDC recommends washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or, when a sink isn’t available, using hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Since the onset of the pandemic, hand hygiene practice is recommended when entering or leaving a public place and touching high-contact items or surfaces frequently touched by others, such as door handles, gas pumps, shopping carts and electronic touch-pads like ATMs or cash registers.

As one of five tools employed in San Miguel County, hand-washing, together with properly employed face coverings, physical distancing, limited group size, staying home when sick has proven effective in limiting the spread of COVID-19. Regardless of vaccines, these transmission controls are critical to the county’s success in curbing the spread of COVID-19 and keeping the economy open for business.

“There are a great many tools to be employed in combating this virus. As we see continued high community spread, including household transmission, it’s increasingly important for roommates and family members to safeguard each other by wiping down surfaces frequently,” said Contact Tracing Supervisor Amanda Baltzley. “Consider how frequently a person touches their face, mask, eyes, nose and mouth, all potential contact points for the virus. It’s not just good hygiene – washing your hands protects others.”

Uncompahgre Medical Center has been approved by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment as a vaccine distribution center. UMC has placed the first order for the Moderna vaccine with the hope to begin vaccinating residents as soon as possible. UMC plans to contact their patients and the community when these vaccinations become available.

San Miguel County Public Health and the Telluride Regional Medical Center have begun administering second doses to the county’s first recipients of the Moderna vaccine, frontline healthcare and emergency services workers. Full protection takes at least two weeks after recipients receive their second dose. Those that receive the full series of doses are still expected to comply with COVID protocols including wearing face coverings and physically distancing.

Public Health has received 44 new positive results as of 11 am on Friday, January 22. The contact tracing team is working diligently to contact both residents and non-residents with the help of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Those with positive results are encouraged to isolate until contacted for support by Public Health or the CDPHE.

The county’s COVID-19 dashboard will be updated as soon as residency information is gathered.

Public Health has also confirmed 29 new positive cases of COVID-19 from test results received from January 20 through 21. Of these cases, 27 are residents and all actively contagious cases are currently in isolation. There have been 571 total COVID cases among residents to date with 53 active cases.

To learn more about the county’s current COVID-19 metrics, please visit the County COVID-19 dashboard.

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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