Local Officials Alert State Health Authorities Of Upward Trend In Cases
~ by Trevor Phipps
Last week, Teller County got bombarded with the largest spike in confirmed coronavirus activity in more than a month.
The last count at the end of the week was a total of 53 confirmed cases. This represents an increase of 10 cases from the previous week, a statistic that isn’t good for Teller’s prospects of remaining in a full-operation mode for local businesses.
According to the variance approval letter that allowed the casinos in Cripple Creek to reopen, along with other businesses, the in-person capacity can stay at a maximum of 175 inside a building. But that is only if the confirmed coronavirus case volume doesn’t exceed seven new COVID-19 positive inflictions in a two-week period. The approval letter said that if the county sees more than seven new cases over two weeks, then they must report this surge to the state Department of Health and Environment (CDHE), and then they have two weeks to make improvements in the volume of new cases.
After two weeks, if the cases have not returned to that desired level, then the state can lower the allowed capacity inside casinos and other facilities to 100 or 50 people, depending on the amount of COVID-19 activity within the county. The state also retains the power to yank their variance approval, and then close the casinos and other businesses again. But there have been no signs that they will rescind their variance approval.
According to Teller County Administrator Sheryl Decker, the county has reported the increase to the CDHE, and they are currently coming up with ways to bring the numbers back down. “The public Health Department, Office of Emergency Management, and the County Commissioners are looking at all of our options to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the county,” Decker said.
The county officials are monitoring the local volume of COVID-19 cases closely, and hope that they can find ways to slow down the number of new coronavirus inflictions, so that all Teller businesses can remain open. In fact, if the county can curb the case numbers, then it is possible that state health authorities will not get involved at all.
Up until this point, county officials said that they would not release any data regarding what regions within Teller have confirmed cases due to the small size of the area and the limited coronavirus activity. “We are pretty small and we have always been protective of personal identification where people could track it down and figure out who has what when and where,” Decker said. “But now the cases are climbing, so I think we have reached a point where it is not as easy to identify.”
Out of the 53 cases that have been recorded in the county, the city of Woodland Park has seen the most COVID-19 activity. Nearly half of the cases have been recorded in Woodland, with the City Above the Clouds reporting 26 confirmed coronavirus cases.
The town of Florissant actually had the second highest number of cases, with 10 being reported in the area. The Divide area was close to Florissant with a total of nine reported cases of the disease. The city of Cripple Creek was towards the bottom, with only five coronavirus cases being reported within the gaming community. And, then in last place was the town of Victor, since the city has experienced only a handful of virus cases.
On a statewide basis, several other areas have seen increases in confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus as well. During a press conference last week, Colorado Governor Jared Polis reported that cases have gone up statewide, but that we have not seen the large increases that have occurred in such hotbed areas as Arizona and Florida.
Polis also stressed that Coloradans need to continue to do their part to slow the spread of the virus by wearing masks in public to help keep the economy open. “Wear your damn masks!” Polis said in a comment that commanded much media attention.