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Eagle County extends public health order requiring masks in schools, child care

October 30, 2021, 8:57 am

Eagle County on Friday issued the following press release on the extension of its public health order requiring face masks in schools and child care settings through Dec. 17:

The public health order requiring masks in schools and child care settings will be extended to December 17. No other substantive changes are being made at this time; however, the Eagle County Board of Health will be holding a work session on Monday, Nov. 1 to review COVID-19 trends to consider possible changes as the immunity for Eagle County residents continues to increase and the vaccination eligibility for 5-11 year olds is likely imminent. 

This order continues to require masks for students, staff, and visitors while indoors at schools where there are large numbers of youth that are not yet eligible for vaccination against COVID-19 (e.g. k-5, k-8 or k-12). In schools with only youth that are eligible for vaccination (e.g. grades 9-12), masks will remain recommended given the high rates of vaccination among these age groups. The order, which only pertains to masks, will be available online. Any developments and the updated case incidence rates are available on eaglecountycovid.org.

The case incidence is steadily increasing in Colorado as Intensive Care Unit beds for hospitals approach full capacity, which has notable impacts for Eagle County residents. “We are also seeing an increase in cases within Eagle County since returning from Fall Break,” said Heath Harmon, Director of Eagle County Public Health and Environment. “Severe disease and hospitalizations should decrease as immunity increases and we are seeing that benefit in Eagle County, but that is not the case for the rest of the state. Hospitals and healthcare workers remain extremely stressed where ICU beds are nearly at full capacity. This means hospitals elsewhere are not receiving transfers when patients need a higher level of care, whether from COVID-19 or from cardiac arrest. It is important for our community to keep this in mind and help decrease the level of spread here in Eagle County.”

Precautions to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 remain important as does testing. The current incident rate for Eagle County is 296/100,000. Public Health officials note that the risk for exposures within the community is at a high level and recommend that residents wear face coverings when entering public indoor spaces as the incidence rate hits or exceeds 300 cases per 100,000. “Despite our interest and upcoming discussion to plan for when this pandemic turns the corner toward being endemic, our community and the state of Colorado are just not there yet,” said Harmon.

In addition to precautions, Public Health officials note the importance of testing when individuals have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or after being exposed to someone with the disease. Anyone testing positive should remain at home and isolate for 10 days from when the symptoms began. Testing centers are set up throughout Eagle County and as winter approaches; hours and locations are subject to change. Up-to-date information about testing locations, days, and times can be found at eaglecountycovid.org.

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