Top 5 most-read stories on SummitDaily.com, week of Dec. 6
Editor’s note: Stories in this list received the most page views on SummitDaily.com for the past week.
1. 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.
2. Summit County officials wary of state program that could allow some businesses to reopen under level red
Businesses that have been hardest hit by novel coronavirus restrictions could find some relief in the form of Colorado’s new Five Star Certification program.
The program allows businesses that demonstrate a commitment to COVID-19 guidelines to apply for a variance, which would allow for them to operate with looser restrictions than the current level allows.
To apply for the program, businesses will be able to submit a written plan detailing how they are implementing or exceeding state and local prevention guidelines and how they will ensure compliance and enforcement, similar to the physical distancing protocol form that Summit County businesses already are required to complete.
3. Summit County reports 195 coronavirus cases over the week
Summit County reported 195 new cases and one additional hospitalization due to the novel coronavirus in the first week of December, according to the county’s coronavirus webpage.
The total number of cases since the beginning of the pandemic is now at 1,621, and 44 residents have been hospitalized at St. Anthony Summit Medical Center since March 5.
A total of 12,647 tests have been administered since the beginning of the pandemic, 1,456 more than last week. Of those tests, 8.8% have returned positive, which is up 0.7% from last week.
The testing positivity rate remains within the level yellow threshold on the state’s COVID-19 dial, according to the dial dashboard.
4. Summit Medical Center representative gives update on hospital capacity, testing at Breckenridge community update
Community testing, hospital bed availability and Pitkin County’s decision to require a negative COVID-19 test before entering the county were discussed at the Breckenridge Tourism Office’s community update Dec. 4.
Aaron Parmet, the infection prevention program manager for St. Anthony Summit Medical Center, gave a presentation regarding the hospital, Centura Health’s testing and tracing of the novel coronavirus.
Parmet shared specifics on the hospital’s resources, which include 34 licensed inpatient beds, a Flight for Life helicopter and negative airflow isolation rooms. Additionally, the hospital has thermal scanning cameras to scan all visitors and staff when they enter the hospital and a robot that uses UV light to help clean and kill pathogens, including the new coronavirus, which causes COVID-19.
He said the hospital has never gone into surge capacity or run out of isolation rooms despite seeing COVID-19 patients. He added that the emergency room has been busy but hasn’t overflowed and that there have not been any hospital-acquired workplace infections of the virus among staff.
5. Al fresco winter dining: Restaurants and bars get creative to accommodate customers
Typically, December wouldn’t fare well for outdoor dining in Summit County, but the unseasonably warm weather has made it possible for several restaurants and bars with food service.
Indoor dining is closed in counties under level red restrictions, including Summit, but the state gave restaurants the option to stay open for outdoor dining in addition to takeout and delivery.
To make things more comfortable and cozy for people, Rising Sun Distillery has put a windscreen around the patio, placed a fire pit in the outdoor seating area and is bringing in more fire pits and heaters this week.
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