Officials say Summit County could move out of level red as soon as Dec. 20
Summit County could move out of level red restrictions as soon as Dec. 20, Public Health Director Amy Wineland said at a community town hall event Thursday, Dec. 10.
Since Dec. 6, Summit County has been reporting a downward trend of new cases of the novel coronavirus. In order to move to level orange, which would allow indoor dining at 25% capacity and gatherings of as many as 10 people from no more than two households, the county has to show a sustained decrease in new cases for 14 days.
If the current decline in cases continues through Dec. 20, the county would be able to petition the state to move into level orange, which it intends to do, Wineland said. It then will be up to the state to decide when the county officially makes that move, but Wineland anticipates it would be very soon after the county submits its petition.
However, if the county reports an increase in new cases, the clock resets and the county won’t be able to move into level orange for at least 14 more days.
“As of now, if we continue this downward trend, which we’re hoping we can do with our community and the mitigation strategies in place, the earliest we would be able to move (out of) level red would be Dec. 20,” Wineland said.
The move would provide much needed relief to restaurant and other business owners, who often rely on the highly profitable holiday season.
While the current decrease in case numbers is good news, it doesn’t mean Summit County is out of the woods, Wineland said. She called it an “unstable equilibrium.”
“It could either go one way or the other right now,” she said. “We’re just really in this fragile state where we want to continue to see the downward trend.”
At the town hall, Wineland also presented case data as a result of the Thanksgiving holiday. As of right now, the data shows that Thanksgiving did not have an impact on virus numbers more than any other day.
“We appear, right now, to be able to suppress the virus despite the holiday that we had, even though we had increased travel both in and out of our county and gatherings within our county based on our contact tracing team investigations,” she said.
While the current data is promising, Wineland said the next few days could show more cases pop up as a result of Thanksgiving.
Public health officials added that the news that the county could move into level orange in less than two weeks shouldn’t deter people from getting tested out of fear of adding to the county’s case numbers.
Lauren Gilbert, the head the of the county’s contact tracing team, said people should still get tested as the county’s testing positivity rate — the percent of positive tests out of all tests — is included in the metrics the state uses to evaluate the county’s level on the dial.
“If less people get tested and people are only getting tested that are sick, that certainly increases our percent positivity,” Gilbert said.
The county’s three testing locations are continuing to allow anyone, regardless of symptoms, to get tested. At the meeting, Wineland said the Vail Health testing site will move from its current location at the Old Community Center in Frisco to the Speakeasy Movie Theatre, 103 S. Harris St. in Breckenridge, on Monday, Dec. 14.
The county also has been able to secure the state-run community testing in Silverthorne through March, Wineland said.
“We know that the only tools that we have right now to fight this virus are contact tracing, testing and capacity limits to avoid gatherings and mixing of households, especially when we have such wide community spread happening,” she said.
The following places offer testing for the virus in Summit County:
• Centura Health’s Centers for Occupational Medicine in Frisco: Testing available daily by appointment at the Vista Professional Building. To schedule an appointment, call 970-668-5584.
• State testing in Silverthorne: Drive-thru testing available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily at 464-478 E. Fourth St. in the overflow parking lot by the Silverthorne Recreation Center. No appointment, insurance or identification is required.
• Vail Health testing in Frisco: Testing is available by appointment from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays at the Old Community Center, 110 Third Ave. To book an appointment, email email@example.com including name, phone number and a copy of photo ID.
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