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Eagle County and Vail Health officials have announced the county has been successful in bending the curve in terms of new COVID-19 infections, but a lack of testing remains a huge hurdle to reopening the local economy and therefore the county is dramatically increasing funding for financial assistance, announcing an additional $500,000 on Tuesday.
As of Tuesday afternoon, there have been 496 cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Eagle County out of a total of 2,052 tests conducted since the first case was confirmed on March 6 – one of the highest per-capita testing rates in the world at 4.5% of the local population.
There have been 38 hospitalizations locally, but only one person was hospitalized locally with the disease as of Tuesday morning, and health officials also said Tuesday they have not transported anyone to Denver with the disease in more than a week.
Of the nearly 500 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Eagle County, there have been six deaths (four of Eagle River Valley residents and two of Roaring Fork River Valley residents of Eagle County).
With the local ski areas shutting down abruptly a month early on March 15 and local and state stay-at-home orders and non-essential business closures, it’s estimated the Eagle County unemployment rate has spiked to nearly 50%.
More than 3,000 local residents (out of an overall permanent population of just over 55,000) have applied to the county for an initial round of $400,000 in financial assistance announced last month. That number has more than doubled now, with the Eagle County commissioners approving another $500,000 on Tuesday. Here’s the full Eagle County press release:
During its regular meeting today (4/14), the Eagle County Board of Commissioners allocated $500,000 in economic assistance for residents experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. The funds are in addition to the $400,000 the board approved in March, and brings the total amount of emergency assistance available to county residents to $900,000.
The new funding is intended to expand and enhance existing assistance programs overseen by Eagle County Human Services. Examples of assistance include rent or mortgage payments, utility services, emergency food supply, and other urgent health or shelter needs. The county requests that applicants do not seek aid for any expenses that are being addressed by other agencies.
Residents seeking assistance for April expenses should complete the form found at www.eaglecounty.us/covid19help. Those who have already applied should not submit another form. After submitting an application, individuals will be contacted for a brief interview to collect the information necessary to determine which resources may be available for each case. Phone requests cannot be taken, but those who would prefer to receive an application by mail may request one by calling 970-328-8888.
The county has received over 3,000 applications for emergency assistance so far, and approximately 75 staff members are conducting phone interviews. Those seeking assistance are asked to note that due to the high volume of applications, it can take up to two weeks for a call back.
“We know many in our community are struggling to meet day-to-day expenses, and we want to help fill the most urgent needs as much as we can,” said Commissioner Matt Scherr.
Today’s allocation was also in addition to $250,000 for community partners and $500,000 for the county government’s response to COVID-19 previously approved in March. The county’s total investment to-date in the local response, not including staff time, is $1.65 million.
Eagle County Public Health is sharing local data, including case counts, hospitalizations and more, through its Eagle County COVID-19 Monitoring dashboard. Additional information is available at www.ECEmergency.org and by following One Valley Voice on Facebook at www.facebook.com/OneValleyVoice.
Residents may also email CovidQuestions@eaglecounty.us or call 970-328-9750 with questions.