During the month since Labor Day weekend and the start of school, new COVID-19 cases around the state and country have significantly increased. In Clear Creek County, our cumulative case count is now 40, with three currently active cases. When the County Public Health team is notified of a positive test result, that person is required to start a mandatory 10-day isolation which means no direct interaction with others, including family members. Contact tracing begins immediately to determine if others were exposed to the highly contagious virus. Any close contacts of the COVID-positive person are required to quarantine for 14 days, starting on the last day of contact with the positive individual, since this is the time frame during which the virus may develop.
Isolation and quarantine both mean that the identified person(s) should not leave their place of residence except for any required testing or if there is a medical emergency. Because of the potential to be in quarantine or isolation, and for other emergency situations, Clear Creek County Public & Environmental Health (PEH) recommends that you have a “safety net” in place – a two-week supply of food, medication, and other essential items in your home so that you do not need to leave and potentially expose others. If possible, you should also coordinate with friends, family members and/or neighbors to help you with any other assistance you may need.
Dr. Timothy Ryan, County PEH Director, reports that, “Quarantine is one of the most effective public health tools for minimizing the spread of COVID-19. The majority of cases we have seen in Clear Creek are from individuals visiting from other areas or residents returning home from working and traveling outside of the county.”
Adults and children may develop and spread COVID-19 to or from others for 14 days after being exposed to the virus. Many people are asymptomatic, meaning they feel well and do not have any symptoms, but they have the virus and are contagious. The elderly and those with underlying health conditions are most at-risk for contracting this disease.
During Colorado’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, children and school/child care staff who have been exposed to a positive case or who have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, must follow the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment’s updated case and outbreak guidance, which can be found in the CDE’s toolkit for the 2020-21 school year. Guidance from local public health agencies will continue to provide districts with the information they need to operate schools and child care centers in a way that makes sense for their local communities.
Please continue to take care of yourself and others – when you go out in public, wear a mask, watch your space, and wash your hands. It is also safest to avoid large gatherings and to stay close to home. Explains Dr. Ryan, “Our overall number of COVID-19 cases has stayed relatively low because of these diligent community efforts. We need to stay the course to keep our schools and businesses open.” This is particularly important as we enter the cold and flu season.