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Eagle County, Colorado COVID-19 cases on rise as state issues ski guidance

October 20, 2020, 9:50 am

The number of new COVID-19 cases has more than doubled in the last week in Eagle County, public officials said Monday, and with increased transmission of the disease comes increased risk. Colorado officials also acknowledged a statewide spike in cases as they simultaneously finalized COVID-19 guidance for ski areas.

Jill Hunsaker Ryan

Eagle County has now seen 1,384 cases of COVID-19 since early March, with 10 deaths, and recently there have been as many as 14 new cases in one day earlier this month.

Here’s a press released issued Monday by the state of Colorado:

State officials are urging Coloradans to continue adhering to COVID-19 protocols as cases and hospitalizations are on the rise. Coloradans are urged to limit in-person gatherings, wash hands regularly, maintain physical distance, and wear a mask when around people outside of their household to help reduce the number of people who get sick with COVID-19.

The total number of patients in Colorado currently hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19 rose to 381 on Monday, the highest figure since May. The number of new cases each day over the last week has been about 1,000 daily.

“These numbers are definitely a concern for us. We need everyone to follow public health guidance to control disease transmission and ensure that health care and public health capacity isn’t strained,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy. “We also want Coloradans who may have been exposed to COVID-19 to get tested.”

The testing positivity rate for today also is up, at 6.24%. The seven-day average is 5.45%. The higher positivity rate also indicates disease transmission is increasing and that more cases may be going undetected. To improve our ability to respond through public health efforts like contract tracing, more people need to get tested.

Anyone who may have been exposed to the virus, but does not have symptoms, should get tested 7 days after suspected exposure. People exposed should quarantine for a full 14 days, regardless of test results. People who have symptoms should get tested right away.

People can get tested at the more than 50 community test sites throughout the state. The sites offer free testing to anyone. People can find the nearest testing site by going to https://covid19.colorado.gov. Continue to stay up to date by visiting covid19.colorado.gov.

State finalizes COVID-19 guidance for ski areas

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) finalized its guidance for ski areas and resorts today. The guidance goes into effect immediately. After releasing a draft of the guidance on Oct. 14, the state reviewed feedback from community members and organizations from across the state, and incorporated feedback into the finalized guidance.

Ski areas are a vital driver of the Colorado economy. During the COVID-19 pandemic, these areas also present unique challenges for controlling virus transmission. A successful ski season will require a strong partnership between ski areas, local governments, local businesses, and the state. 

These guidelines draw from existing and well-known COVID-19 guidelines including:

Also established are some new baseline standards to create common expectations for mountain-specific activities such as:

“Outdoor activities like skiing and snowboarding can be lower risk if done with proper precautions, both on and off the slopes,” said Jill Hunsaker Ryan, executive director, CDPHE. “We have to proceed carefully and be willing to evolve if necessary. We’ve been grateful for the cooperation of ski and resort areas. Our top priority is the safety of Coloradans and ensuring the health care systems in these areas aren’t overrun.” 

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