The Crestone Eagle • May, 2020

Colorado ‘Safer at home’ order—be smart, save lives

by Bobby Woelz, Director

Saguache County Office of Emergency Management

Coloradans in the San Luis Valley have stepped up and taken responsible steps to help bend the curve of coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.  We are grateful for these shared efforts that helped save lives and slow the spread.  At the end of April, the COVID-19 positive case load remained stable in the San Luis Valley which suggests our social distancing efforts have had a positive effect in “flattening the curve.”

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has reviewed new modeling information with an expert group of public health scientists.  The Colorado School of Public Health (ColoradoSPH) assembled the expert group, which includes modeling scientists at ColoradoSPH and the University of Colorado School of Medicine at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus, as well as experts from the University of Colorado Boulder, University of Colorado Denver, and Colorado State University.  This modeling shows that the Governor’s Stay-at-Home order reduced social interactions by 75-80% since it went into effect. In April, Colorado had over 10,000 reported cases of COVID-19; however, the State believes the real number is closer to 65,000-75,000 Coloradans—about 1.1%-1.3% of the population.

Colorado’s Stay-at-Home order expired on April 26; however, we need to continue a variety of long-term social distancing and protective measures to keep everyone as safe as possible from this deadly virus.

On April 27, Colorado moved into the “Safer at Home” phase.

no longer be ordered to stay home, but are still strongly encouraged to do so. Vulnerable populations and seniors must continue staying home except when absolutely necessary and K-12 school districts and postsecondary institutions will continue to suspend normal in-person instruction until the end of the school year. 

The deadly virus continues to be with us, and we must wear masks and socialize less to avoid its rapid growth. For seniors and those with pre-existing conditions, it is important to stay home whenever possible through May.  Governor Polis stated, “though we are moving into a sustainable way of living during this pandemic, there are tough days ahead.  This is a marathon, not a sprint, and now we need to pace ourselves and social distancing measures need to be sustainable. We are going to have to learn to live with coronavirus for a while, but we must not live with anxiety or fear, but with extreme caution, especially if you are a member of a vulnerable population.”

It is possible that Colorado could return to the Stay-at-Home phase if there is a significant increase in cases or spread of the virus.  Saguache County can also implement stricter restrictions, if necessary.  If County and State orders differ, the more restrictive order will take precedence.  Saguache County Public Health Department will continue to review data and models to inform future policy decisions.

Saguache County has one goal in mind—to mitigate the spread of the disease and avoid a longer-term risk to our community.  Residents are strongly encouraged to stay at home whenever possible. Vulnerable populations and seniors must continue to stay home except when absolutely necessary.  To save lives and prevent our health care system from becoming overwhelmed by COVID-19, Saguache County is asking your cooperation in proactively implementing these measures. It is our personal responsibility to minimize our social gatherings, to wear a mask when out in public, and to stay at home as much as possible. These short-term measures will build upon our resiliency and strength. Collective action on preventive hygiene, minimizing social gatherings, and wearing a mask in public will significantly reduce the long-term impacts on our community.

For more information:

SLV COVID general questions: 719-480-8719 for English, or 719-315-5019 for Spanish. You may also email questions to slvepr@alamosacounty.org

CO HELP line: 1-877-462-2911 (English and Spanish) for Colorado general information.

Colorado updates and guidance: https://covid19.colorado.gov

CDC updates and guidance: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus

Small Business: www.choosecolorado.com

Volunteer or donate: www.helpcoloradonow.org

Those with COVID-19 symptoms need to call a nurse triage line for screening.

Nurse Triage Lines:

– Rio Grande Hospital: 719-657-4990

– SLV Health Nurse Line: 719-589-2511 ext. 9

– Valley Wide Health Systems: 719-589-3658 ext. 9