We are aware of one new case of COVID-19 in Elbert County. The woman, in his 60s, is a resident of the county. This represents the fifth known case of COVID-19 in the county. Stacey Rinehart, our Environmental Health Specialist, will complete a CDC Case Report on this incident.
Colorado is still under at stay-at-home order by Governor Polis. Community transmission of COVID-19 is occurring in Elbert County. It is critical that together we protect our community members at high risk for COVID-19 by limiting physical contact and staying home. Residents may not have symptoms, but could still have COVID-19.
Per CDPHE, testing for COVID-19 has been prioritized for first responders (law enforcement, fire services, EMS, etc.) and hospital personnel in an effort to preserve the state’s healthcare safety net. Testing limitations are currently constrained by a lack of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), as the nasopharyngeal test that is administered frequently causes the individual being tested to cough, gag, or otherwise expel aerosolized respiratory droplets. Therefore the tester needs to be properly protected. It is very likely that people exhibiting symptoms associated with COVID-19 will be guided to stay home, self-isolate, and call their healthcare provider.
In his press conference yesterday Governor Polis noted that measures limiting Coloradans’ movement may have begun to slow the spread of the new coronavirus in the state. He said the number of people affected by the disease had been doubling every two days, or even more frequently. New data from the past 24 hours indicates the spread has dropped to a doubling about every five days. The governor said there are some caveats around the apparent slowing of the virus’ spread, including that health officials still believe there are thousands of infected people who have not been tested. It is important to note that this is one day’s worth of data, and does not represent a trend. I have attached the slide deck from his presentation to this email.
The State of Colorado is recommending that child care facilities stay open to support essential staff responding to COVID-19. Stacy Rinehart is assisting childcare facilities as needed in providing best practice guidance.
As a heads up for entitlement program-eligible families, Tri-County Health Department, who administers the WIC Program (the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children) for Elbert County residents, is now conducting all appointments remotely.
One more (!) reminder to wash your hands. Scientists have noted that COVID-19 seems to be pretty easy to kill with common soaps and detergents. These are enveloped viruses, which means they’re pretty fragile and they desecrate fairly quickly. Any soap will do, but you need to be thorough and wash all surfaces of the hand — each finger, the palms, the backs of the hands, the wrists, under the nails — for 20 seconds. If soap and water are unavailable, hand sanitizer will do the trick, but it needs to be at least 60% alcohol to work. As for household surface cleaners, something with bleach is your safest bet. And be sure to clean your cell phone several time a day.
Please connect with me if I can provide any additional info. Thanks, and stay safe.
Dwayne Smith, MEd, MCHES®, CPST
Administrator, Elbert County Public Health