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Eagle County has seen a jump in new COVID-19 cases in the last week of nearly 30 individuals — from 631 to 660 — and most of those new infections have been among younger age groups.
County public health officials on Tuesday issued the following press release:
Eagle County has seen a recent increase in COVID-19 cases among younger age groups and urges the public to continue to adhere to the five commitments of containment:
I will maintain 6 feet of physical distance.
I will wash my hands often.
I will cover my face in public.
I will stay home when I am sick.
I will get tested immediately if I have symptoms.
Eagle County Public Health and Environment is investigating a cluster of cases mostly among local youth aged 16-18 where the initial spread was associated with private social gatherings, resulting in 11 confirmed cases among young people in the Roaring Fork Valley.
Disease investigators have noted an unwillingness among some infected individuals and families to isolate at home and share information about events where other people would have been exposed. This information is critically important to help prevent further spread within the community. Officials note that the investigation is ongoing and it is possible more cases will emerge in the coming days.
While many of the cases are among Eagle County residents, the investigation is a coordinated effort between Eagle, Pitkin and Garfield counties. A Health Alert will go out to regional health care providers regarding this investigation and providing information on quarantine, isolation and testing for close contacts.
Although there may be differences between each jurisdiction’s public health order, the disease control measures are identical for residents of all three counties. They include:
-Any person confirmed to have COVID-19 should isolate at home for 10 days from the time the symptoms began.
-All close contacts of a known COVID-19 case should self-quarantine at home for 14 days from the last date of exposure. Close contacts are persons that live in the same household, intimate partners, and anyone that has spent more than 15 minutes closer than 6 feet with a confirmed case.
-Close contacts of known cases are significantly at higher risk of becoming infected than people that had limited contact with a case. Quarantine helps prevent the spread of COVID-19 that can occur before a person develops symptoms or if they are infected with the virus and are asymptomatic.
-Close contacts that are symptomatic should contact their medical provider and seek testing immediately.
-Close contacts that are asymptomatic should wait 5-7 days from the last date of exposure to seek testing. Testing right after an exposure may be too early in the incubation period to detect the virus.
Eagle County Public Health and Environment has elevated its performance indicator for new cases from comfortable to cautious. “The pandemic continues, the virus is still here, and our community members are still susceptible to infection,” said Heath Harmon, Director of Eagle County Public Health and Environment. “Unfortunately the outbreaks we have seen recently continue to have an impact on our community. Following the five commitments, including during social gatherings, can help reduce exposures and protect other people that may be more susceptible to severe illness from COVID-19.”
“This is not about personal risk tolerance, this is about making decisions that help protect the community,” said Harmon. “We need to co-exist with this virus until a vaccine is available and do so in a way that helps limit its spread.”
Regular updates on the county’s response to COVID-19 are being shared at www.ECEmergency.org. The county’s forum for community discussions is at www.facebook.com/OneValleyVoice. Those with additional questions can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 970-328-9750.