Gunnison County to remain under third amended public health order

Chris Rourke

Times Editor

Local health officials this morning, March 26, say last night’s action by Gov. Jared Polis to issue a statewide stay-at-home order has little impact on Gunnison County. The order was issued by the governor just after 4 p.m. yesterday in Denver in an effort to limit the spread of novel coronavirus, or COVID-19.

County Health and Human Services Director Joni Reynolds said she has reviewed the governor’s order and determined that the county will continue to operate under the county’s public health order.

The public was notified at about 10:30 p.m. last night through email, texts and phone calls.

This morning Reynold’s further clarified at the emergency management operations meeting.

“There was a lot of confusion last night and we got no advanced communication of the governor’s action. It caused people a lot of anxiety and stress,” said Reynolds Thursday morning. “I did review the language in both the governor’s executive order and a statement that any local orders that are stricter (take precedence). Our third amendment of the public health order is at least consistent if not stricter. We do continue with our third amended public health order.”

This morning local health officials reported 63 positive, 39 pending and 75 negative cases. Another patient overnight was admitted through the emergency department. A total of 16 patients have received hospital care due to respiratory illness, and four are currently admitted. Three of them are in “green” status, with one listed as “amber.”

Health officials are working on a staffing plan for the alternative treatment location at the Fred Field Building at the Gunnison County Fairgrounds, as well as a patient transfer protocol for those who need to be sent to a higher care facility outside Gunnison County.

Screening will continue today at the Crested Butte Community School. While the supply of COVID-19 swabs in running low, health officials report 100 new swabs will be arriving in Gunnison on Monday.

Additionally, emergency managers want volunteers to know they are considered “essential services” and may report to their duties today.

Currently 55 volunteers are supporting incident operations, it was reported this morning.

Reynolds also emphasized that there are nine reported outbreaks in residential communities statewide. She asked the senior task force to review current procedures at senior care facilities to ensure that population was receiving adequate protection.

Also this morning, Gunnison Watershed RE1J School District Superintendent Leslie Nichols notified the community that operations were unchanged due to the governor’s order. In a message posted on the district’s website, Nichols wrote, “School operations are identified as essential. We will continue to provide the best e-learning/Distance learning that we can, including our Grab ‘n’ Go meal service.”