On November 12, Grand County Public Health (GCPH) moved the county to Safer at Home – Level Orange. Following input received by the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC), business leaders, municipalities and the general public, GCPH submitted a Mitigation Plan to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) outlining associated orders on November 17. 

The Plan detailed several more stringent preventive measures such as restricting personal gatherings to 10 or less and from only 2 households; Short-term rental properties are limited to an occupancy maximum of 2 households; and, all residents and guests are subject to a 10 pm curfew, with limited exception. As part of GCPH’s standing Public Health Order, the public is reminded that the protective measures listed within are LAW. Violations may be subject to fines and/or jail.

The commissioners had hoped to return to Level Yellow by month-end, but positive case numbers have continued to increase, moving the county closer to Levels Red and Purple. At the time of publication, 188 new cases of COVID-19 had been diagnosed in the two weeks prior, representing 41% of the 452 cases reported since the pandemic began. At Tuesday’s BOCC meeting, Public Health Director Brene Belew-LaDue noted there was a lull in cases reported over the holiday weekend, but predicted the numbers would increase following the Thanksgiving holiday.

A vaccine is on the horizon and relief from the pandemic is coming, albeit slowly. To keep the county from moving higher on the dial, GCPH reinforces the standard measures: wash your hands, wear a mask and stay 6 feet or more away from others outside your household. If you don’t feel well, stay home. Call your doctor and get tested, if needed.

GCPH is now offering free rapid Antigen testing through a robust, weekly, predictable testing program to address outbreak and surveillance testing needs across Grand County. If you are a local, asymptomatic Grand County resident who has been exposed to a positive COVID-19 case, are on quarantine orders, or are a critical/frontline worker in Grand County, you may attend any of the scheduled GCPH antigen testing times. For location details, contact GCPH at (970) 725-3288.

Another important measure for the safety of the community is contact tracing. With the increased number of positive tests, GCPH has been very busy conducting these necessary investigations. Residents are advised that most contact tracers place calls from cell phones and not necessarily from a specific local landline number. If you do not answer, they will leave a message asking you to return their call. They will also know exactly when, where, and how you were exposed, or where you tested, if you tested. To verify their identity before returning their call, call GCPH at (970) 725-3288. 

For the latest Grand County COVID-19 information, visit co.grand.co.us/covid19.