Chaffee County Public Health is partnering with local healthcare providers to pilot an innovative contact tracing protocol as the county begins reopening.
Participating local healthcare providers will begin the contact tracing process each time they perform a COVID-19 test by collecting a list of the close contacts of the patient. They will then pass that information to public health staff if the test comes back positive.
This is helpful in two ways, said public health director and COVID-19 incident commander Andrea Carlstrom said in a press release. First, talking with a healthcare provider about close contacts allows a chance for education about the continued importance of social distancing and quarantine when sick. Second, if the test does come back as positive, public health staff will have a significant head start in the process of contact tracing.
“By working together in this innovative way, we believe that we can adequately provide contact tracing during this pandemic,” Carlstrom said. “This has been an area of focus for our organization over the last month in preparation for the potential increase in cases as restrictions loosen."
Beginning today (May 1), all businesses listed in Phase 1 who have received a Safe Business Certificate can begin operations. Non-critical offices may open on Monday (May 4). To receive a Safe Business Certificate, people can fill out the Safe Business Checklist, available HERE.
Businesses in phases 2 and 3 may fill out the checklist now or wait until closer to their open date. Public health said it has increased staff capacity to ensure that all businesses that have submitted a checklist can receive their certificate in time.
Critical businesses that have been operating prior to the Safer at Home reopening do not need to fill out a Safe Business Checklist to receive a certificate. However, all safety guidelines still need to be followed.
As Chaffee County begins to reopen, public health is also working on a plan to welcome back second-home owners. Currently, the county is set to open to second-home owners on May 16, however that this is a dynamic situation that could change.
Public health is asking people who own second homes in Chaffee County to consider quarantining in their current homes for 2 weeks before they return to Chaffee County. “By doing this, you help reduce the risk of bringing COVID-19 from your primary residence to Chaffee County,” Carlstrom said.
The CDC has also expanded its list of COVID-19 symptoms to include the following: fever, cough, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and loss of taste or smell.
People experiencing symptoms can look at the county’s testing guidance document available HERE, and call their medical provider for a test.
People without a medical provider can contact public health at 719-539-4510 and the department will help them get tested if they fit the criteria.
Carlstrom said the county currently has adequate tests to allow anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 to get tested.