Chaffee County Public Health reported seven new cases of COVID-19 Thursday in Chaffee County.
Added to previously reported cases that makes 45 cases reported in the last seven days and 79 reported in the past 14 days.
Chaffee county’s total case count for the pandemic is now 540.
One of those who tested positive this week was a staff member at Buena Vista Correctional Complex.
Colorado Department of Corrections reported seven new cases among inmates at the facility, bringing the pandemic total to 238 at BVCC.
Across the state, 5,261 cases of the virus were reported Thursday, up 920 cases from the previous day.
The state’s current seven-day positivity rate stands at 12.85 percent.
Chaffee County Public Health director and incident command for COVID-19 Andrea Carlstrom said, “Every new positive case means that we are that much closer to putting restrictions on our local economy and education. We are inching toward the orange level.”
“Every interaction you are involved in that interaction increases risk of spread. Increased risk of spread means your favorite local business might have to shut down, your school might need to go into quarantine, our community might need to move into another stay at home,” she said.
Carlstrom advised taking extra precautions during the holidays.
“Cancel social plans, including Thanksgiving beyond your household. Do not go to work sick. Be safe if you must travel. There is so much at stake right now. Please do not erase the hard work and sacrifices that have been since March.”
While public health is currently operating at the yellow level with additional restrictions, if case count does not slow down, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is likely to move Chaffee County forward Carlstrom said.
“Our goal was to maintain 35 or fewer new cases over a 14 day period. We must take mitigation measures before it is too late,” she said.
Recent trends in spread have included travel outside of the county and people going to work while symptomatic according to public health.
Due to those and other trends regarding the spread of the virus over the past week, Public Health is advising that all meetings, events, activities, and any other type of gathering move to virtual or be postponed for the next two weeks, especially when group gathering size is greater than 10 and includes more than two households.
Public health will not be issuing exemptions or plan approvals at this time regarding the two-week expectation however, several weddings have been allowed to take place as long as event parameters are being followed.
Public health is moving to implement its compliance measures.
Businesses that have not followed the public health order, most specifically the statewide mask mandate, will be issued notices of violations and cease and desist orders with fines.
Due to recent outbreaks associated with businesses and subsequent closures, public health said they hope that every business will now take the pandemic and the prevention strategies seriously.
Businesses that have not already completed the safe business certification must do so.
Public health has received multiple reports of lack of mask wearing in buildings where there are multiple tenants operating private businesses.
“It is truly up to personal responsibility and accountability at this point.
“Public health has given our county all of the prevention tools available as we embark upon month 9 of this pandemic. If you are not following them, please consider this your turning point,” Carlstrom said.