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Eagle County health officials issued a press release on Tuesday urging residents to take precautions against a likely COVID-19 outbreak caused by the novel coronavirus. Federal health officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday announced a U.S. outbreak is a matter of “when, not if.”
Here’s the full press release from Eagle County:
Key stakeholders in the Eagle County Public Health system have been collaborating for weeks to discuss response options for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, should it arrive in Eagle County. The group is ensuring that residents are aware of measures they can take to help protect themselves, their families, and the community.
Eagle County has not yet experienced a case of COVID-19. However, health officials agree that it is only a matter of time before cases emerge in Colorado and locally. Most illnesses are relatively mild, according to Rebecca Larson, Epidemiologist and Deputy Director for Eagle County Public Health and Environment. “Approximately 80% or more have had fever, with cough or aches and have recovered without needing any special medical treatment,” she said. “The greatest risk for severe illness and complications is among older adults, especially those 80 years of age or older or people with pre-existing health conditions.”
“The level of COVID-19 spread taking place in communities outside of China is another important indicator that we need to be prepared locally for its arrival,” said Heath Harmon, Director of Eagle County Public Health and Environment. “Let’s face it, we have a lot of residents who travel internationally and we welcome those international travelers into our community. We don’t want people to panic. We do want people to know there are many actions that can be taken to protect yourself. In addition, we want people to know these are the same actions that will slow the spread and benefit the community as a whole.”
Recommendations to prevent illness:
Recommended precautions for employers:
Recommendations for those who get sick:
Among the many planning scenarios local healthcare partners have been working through is how to handle a surge of patients seeking care. “Our biggest concern is slowing down the spread of the disease when it occurs in our county. At that time we will ask patients that believe they might have COVID-19 to please stay home and call their healthcare provider to discuss their symptoms and need for medical care. This will allow a clinical assessment and guidance to be provided in a way that will help limit exposures among people that may be seeking care for other reasons,” said Caitlyn Ngam, Infection Preventionist at Vail Health. “We are pleased with the coordinated efforts between the different entities regarding preparing for COVID-19 in our community and feel confident in our ability to address it.”
In the event of an outbreak, information will be posted at ECemergency.org. This will include links to current information from local, state and national public health sources.
People concerned that they have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 infection should stay home and call their healthcare provider. After assessment, if healthcare providers are concerned that a patient’s symptoms may be related to COVID-19, they are asked to contact public health officials. For more information, visit www.eaglecounty.us/COVID19.