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Garfield County’s COVID-19 cases continue to tick up, especially among younger age groups

A Carbondale restaurant remains closed until further notice after two more workers there tested positive for COVID-19, and as Garfield County has reported more than 80 new cases since the middle of June.

Newer cases here and in neighboring counties also are increasingly involving younger people, many in their late teens and 20s, with reports of some outbreaks occurring following summertime social gatherings.

White House Pizza in Carbondale voluntarily closed last week as a safety precaution when one worker who was showing symptoms tested positive for COVID-19.

Restaurant management said Monday they would remain closed after testing among employees revealed two more cases in people who were not showing symptoms, and had not been in recent contact with the first worker who tested positive.

“We will remain closed until all test results are back and we can open safely,” restaurant management said in a message posted to their website on Monday afternoon.

Garfield County Public Health officials said they have not heard of any other recent cases prompting closures of restaurants or any other businesses in the county.

“However, it is always good to remember that most people work somewhere,” said Carrie Godes, public health specialist for the county.

“At some point, any worker anywhere could test positive,” she said, adding it’s up to the individual business in most cases whether to shut down. “Unless there is a threat to the public, we will treat it as a normal case investigation and work through the process. If there were to be a risk to the public, we would make that information available.”

Meanwhile, County Health had upped its cumulative COVID-19 case number over the weekend from 259 on Friday to 282 as of late Sunday. That number was expected to go up again Monday night following another day of contact tracing by the county’s nurse epidemiologists.

More than 80 of those cases have been reported just in the past two weeks, as hospitals and clinics test more people experiencing symptoms and being referred for testing, as well as testing of asymptomatic people through contact tracing, public health officials report.

However, those cases get back-dated to when a person who tests positive first experienced symptoms. That means the county, so far, has not eclipsed the 60 cases in any rolling two-week period that could jeopardize its state variance to reopen restaurants and other businesses at capacities greater than state orders currently allow.

County health officials were able to confirm that, of the last 82 positive cases reported, 32% were in the 20-29 age group.

Since the start of the outbreak in Garfield County, the majority of cases, 22%, have been in that age group, with 17% of cases in the 30-39 age group and 16.3% each for the 40-49 and 50-59 age groups, according to County Health records.

A little over 9% of the county’s cases to date have involved people ages 10 to 19.

The vast majority of Garfield County’s cases have been in the 20-59 age group, though it remains older people who are most at risk of serious illness or death if they contract COVID-19.

“Part of that is because our older and more vulnerable groups have decided to limit their personal exposure to the virus,” Godes said of the lower number of cases among older people.

Both of Garfield County’s two deaths to date associated with COVID-19 involved men in their 80s.

City hosts coronavirus conversation Tuesday evening

The city of Glenwood Springs is scheduled to host a virtual Town Hall Community Conversation at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday for a conversation about balancing public health and reopening the economy amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

Participants can register in advance at cogs.us/townhall, and can provide input in advance to help shape the topics on the “virtual bulletin board” at  http://www.gwscommunityconversations.com.

Presenting will be Sara Brainard from Garfield County Public Health and Dr. David M. Brooks, Chief Medical Officer for Valley View Hospital. Other speakers will include:

  • Angie Anderson, Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association
  • Sumner Schachter from Imagine Glenwood
  • Beatriz Soto, Directora Defiende Nuestra Tierra for Wilderness Workshop
  • Steve Beckley, owner of the Iron Mountain Hot Springs and Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park
  • John Bosco, COO and Vice President, Hot Springs Pool
  • Erin Zalinski, owner, Treadz
  • Jonathan Godes, Glenwood Springs Mayor

Organizers are soliciting ideas for balancing health and reopening the economy; how best to communicate with visitors about local public health restrictions; and, thoughts on specific policies.

There will also be a Question and Answer session during the town hall. Questions will be taken from participants on the phone and online.

  • Text Glenwood to 833-TXT-LIVE to be added to the registration list in advance of the event (and to receive a call for the event)
  • To call in, dial 866-416-5235, or, for Spanish, dial 833-380-0618

jstroud@postindependent.com


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