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To prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the San Miguel County Department of Public Health has initiated a series of public health orders, including a sheltering-in-place requirement in effect through at least April 3, according to a news release.
“We know just testing is not enough to fight this virus. If we invest in the short-term inconveniences of isolation and sheltering in place now, we will save lives,” said Grace Franklin, director for the San Miguel County health department.
The order covers a wide range of activity, and violators are subject to criminal and civil charges.
San Miguel County has seen several critically ill residents requiring intensive hospitalization. This week, there have been multiple cases of children under 4 years of age in regional emergency departments with serious symptoms related to those of COVID-19.
The county will begin testing for the virus using blood tests, according to the county health department.
The county is partnering with United Biomedical and subsidiary c19 to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and will be the first in the United States to test an entire county with UBI’s COVID-19 blood test. The testing is being offered free of charge by UBI and c19 and will be administered by the public health department of San Miguel County, with the goal of detecting and containing community spread and providing a more accurate assessment of disease prevalence.
Individuals who agree to be tested will receive a simple blood draw by a health care provider. Tests will then be sent to a lab, with results projected to be available within two days. The test will ideally be repeated in 14 days so that public health officials can gauge if the rate of infection is increasing or decreasing in the county.
“This will drastically advance our ability to assess the presence of the virus in our county and allow us to focus isolation strategies,” Franklin said.
Shelter in placePeople who violate the shelter-in-place order may face criminal and civil charges.
The order includes:
Prohibition of all events of more than 10 people. Prohibition of all events at day care centers, child care centers, home child care centers, private schools and day schools, community recreational centers, ice rinks and libraries.Prohibition of all events at food establishments except for the provision of takeout and delivery of food.Cease all activities at business facilities in the county except for minimum basic operations and essential services.Cease operations and reservations to short-term lodging. All public transportation is considered an event.Visitors to San Miguel County are directed to return home immediately. All nonresident homeowners are strongly encouraged to leave the county and return to their primary place of residence.The order applies to all unincorporated areas of San Miguel County, including Telluride, Mountain Village, Norwood, Ophir and Sawpit.
The shelter-in-place order is to ensure the maximum number of people self-quarantine or self-isolate in their place of residence to the maximum extent feasible, while enabling essential services to continue and slow the spread of COVID-19.
Permitted activitiesAccording to the order, individuals may leave their residence only to perform any of the following essential activities:
To engage in activities essential to their health and safety, and their family’s or household member’s health and safety. Examples are obtaining medical supplies, visiting a health care professional, or obtaining supplies they need to work from home.To obtain necessary services or supplies for themselves and their family or household members, or to deliver those services or supplies to others.To engage in outdoor activity provided the individuals comply with social distancing requirements.To perform work providing essential products and services at an essential business.To care for a family member or pet in another household.No barricades“Our actions now seem exaggerated to some, but let me assure you all, any actions we want to take later will be severely inadequate,” said Dr. Sharon Grundy, county medical officer. “We’ve entered a new and concerning phase that requires swift action. We have an opportunity to arrest the spread of COVID-19 and potential loss of life.”
The roads of San Miguel County and Telluride and Mountain Village remain open, according to the San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office.
“We are not barricading people in or out,” according to a statement on the sheriff’s Facebook page.
Susan Lilly, public information officer for the San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office, said the public health order is a “mandatory order, but does not mean people are not allowed to leave their homes for essential errands, such as food and medications, and we hope people will feel free to take solo walks while maintaining social distancing.”
The sheriff advised the public to consider canceling all service providers visiting their home unless absolutely necessary.
Residential and commercial construction sites may otherwise continue as long as in compliance with this order in reference to social distancing and limit to no more than 10 people on site.