Chaffee County Public Health reported its first positive cases of COVID-19, or coronavirus, in the county Friday morning. They are two adults and are under investigation. The patient is working with public health officials in the ongoing investigation to identify people that may have had close exposure.
Local health and medical partners have acknowledged that the arrival of COVID-19 Chaffee County was a matter of when versus if. As a result, they have been planning what a local response would look like as well as running through different scenarios.
There is currently no vaccine or treatment for COVID-19. Chaffee County Public Health and its partners will focus their response efforts on slowing the spread of the disease, which will require the community’s assistance.
Although more than 80% of people who have contracted COVID-19 have relatively mild illness, there are greater risks for complications among older adults, especially above the age of 60 years, as well as people with pre-existing health conditions.
Identification of the first case in Chaffee County is an important indicator. Health officials are reminding residents and guests that the individual precautions they can take to limit their exposure are the same precautions that can help slow the spread of COVID-19 within the community. These precautions will also help protect people in our community who may be at greatest risk for complications if they get infected.
• Wash your hands regularly, especially before eating or touching your mouth and nose.
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• If you are sick, stay home.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
What to do if you’re sick:
• Stay home if you develop a fever, cough or shortness of breath.
• Wear a mask or cover your cough and sneeze.
• Wash your hands frequently and don’t share personal items (drinking glass or utensils) with others.
• Call your healthcare provider. Do not show up at a clinic, urgent care or the emergency department unannounced.
• Your doctor’s office will assess your illness on the phone and provide information or guidance for you, household members, and other close contacts.
• Testing for COVID-19 is not a routine test. Your healthcare provider will assess your symptoms and risk for the disease based on guidance from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
• Since many of the illnesses are mild, we expect most COVID-19 patients will be isolated in their own home to rest and recover. If possible, sleep in a bedroom and use a bathroom that is not used by other household members.
• There is no antiviral treatment for COVID-19. Getting rest and drinking plenty of fluids will likely be helpful for recovery. Only the most critically ill will be hospitalized.
Public Health officials also have been recommending that residents prepare for an emergency that might require them to stay at home for several days, including having food supplies, water and medications. Isolation and quarantine practices are the best non-pharmaceutical interventions available to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Those with questions about COVID-19 can call the CO HELP Hotline at 1-877-462-2911. Updates or changes in guidance will be posted to https://www.facebook.com/covid-19chaffeecounty/ and https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/2019-novel-coronavirus. To contact Chaffee County Public Health, call 719-539-4510.
From our sister paper the Chaffee County Times at www.chaffeecountytimes.com