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Summit County will ease social distancing restrictions April 27; widespread testing and contact tracing will identify and contain new pockets of disease
Contact: Bentley Henderson, Assistant County Manager, 970-453-3401
SUMMIT COUNTY – The Summit County Board of Health, which is comprised of the Board of County Commissioners, launched a Roadmap to Recovery process Tuesday, convening a community recovery committee and outlining a proposed easing of social distancing restrictions, beginning April 27. Recently expanded community testing and contact tracing will allow public health experts to identify and contain new pockets of COVID-19.
"We absolutely recognize how difficult and stressful the past six weeks have been," Summit County Commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier said. "The world has been changing before our eyes, and Summit County has been hit especially hard. We deeply appreciate the efforts of all our residents to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our community. We believe those efforts are paying off, so we are now going to begin a careful, step-by-step resumption of economic and social activity."
Summit County held the first virtual meeting of a new Summit County Recovery and Resilience Committee, a group of local leaders and stakeholders representing a broad cross section of the community, including lodging businesses, nonprofit organizations, local governments, restaurants, retail businesses and ski areas.
The committee will provide input and expertise on a broad range of issues related to the phased resumption and recovery of activity in local workplaces, public spaces and businesses. Public health experts and County staff will collaborate with local elected officials, business leaders, employers, nonprofits and other stakeholders to develop and recommend plans that will allow for a gradual easing of restrictions, while developing strategies and tactics to limit disease transmission.
"We’re striving to identify the right measures to keep our community members safe and healthy, while allowing our residents to reconnect with one another and our businesses to restart their engines," Public Health Director Amy Wineland said. "Achieving this balance in an economy like ours that’s built on visitors will require a lot of creative problem solving. But we have all the right people in the Zoom."
In partnership with Summit County Public Health, Vail Health began offering drive-through COVID-19 testing on Tuesday. The organization will continue offer testing to any symptomatic Summit County residents on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Ill individuals can email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment. Vail Health collected test samples from 47 Summit County residents Tuesday. Centura has also indicated that it may expand its testing capabilities in Summit County in the near future.
"Widespread community testing and contact tracing are both critical to our ability to detect infection, contain it and prevent future economic disruptions, so these new developments are extremely encouraging," Wineland said. "It’s important to understand that this virus will be with us for months to come, and we’ll likely see infections that will result in poor outcomes. That’s why we need to continue protecting the most vulnerable members of our populations, and they need to continue practicing extreme social distancing."
The Summit County Recovery and Resilience Committee will convene for a virtual meeting open to the public at 1 p.m., Monday, April 27. Summit County will publish an agenda and online attendance instructions in the coming days.
During the committee’s first meeting, participants received information on a number of proposed measures aimed at responsibly relaxing current local public health restrictions. The recommended restrictions closely align with the State of Colorado Safer at Home guidance, and the Summit County Public Health director will present them to the Board of Health for consideration Wednesday, April 22.
The following are the recommended restrictions for a new public health order that would take effect Monday, April 27:
The Summit County Board of Health will meet at 3 p.m., Wednesday, April 22, to consider the recommended changes to the Summit County Public Health Order. Members of the public are invited to attend the meeting virtually. UPDATE (3:10 p.m., Wednesday, April 22): The remote meeting has reached capacity. We are recording the meeting for later viewing by members of the general public who were not able to make it into the meeting.