October 14, 2020
Media contact: Tracy Trulove
PITKIN COUNTY - Pitkin County Public Health is seeing a significant increase in local COVID-19 cases and outbreaks as well as community spread across the county, similar to neighboring counties and across the state. Public Health encourages the community to continue following the five Commitments of Containment.
“It is critical that everyone in the community stay committed to physical distancing, wearing masks in public, hand hygiene, getting tested if symptomatic, and staying home when sick,” said Suzuho Shimasaki, Deputy Director of Pitkin County Public Health. “We each have the power and responsibility to change the course we’re on. Based on what our indicators are alerting us to, we need to act now through collective adoption of these risk reduction strategies to see the necessary reduction in disease transmission in a timely manner to be able to have a successful fall and winter season without the need for additional broader mitigation strategies.”
The Pitkin County Public Health team was also recently made aware of a group of over 70 individuals who traveled to attend a wedding in Pitkin County from September 23-28. We have learned that since leaving the county and returning home, some of these individuals have tested positive for COVID-19. Given the cross-jurisdictional spread in this situation, Pitkin County Public Health is working collaboratively with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) on the outbreak investigation, along with the public health agencies of where the wedding attendees reside.
Pitkin County Public Health has minimal information about the wedding attendees but has reached out to the venues where formal wedding activities took place to inform employers about the potential exposure and guide them on communications to employees as well as cleaning and disinfection protocols.
“Given the size of the group and length of their visit, it is likely that some individuals visited additional establishments that have yet to be identified through contact tracing,” said Josh Vance, Disease Investigation and Control Supervisor. “Exposure outside of interactions with this group is also possible, given that community spread of COVID-19 is still occurring.”
If you develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19: Follow these isolation instructions
- Get tested (always call before showing up)
- Stay home from work, school, or other activities around other people
- Seek emergency medical care if symptoms become life threatening
In addition to support from SB20-205 that requires all employers in Colorado, regardless of size, to provide every employee with paid sick leave for COVID-19 related reasons, there are several local resources to support community members required to isolate or quarantine.
Please note that the majority of the businesses visited by the wedding attendees are not believed to be responsible for the spread of the virus, and further investigations are already underway for those alleged to have violated the Public Health Order
According to an article published by Scientific American, “so-called superspreader incidents-in which one person infects a disproportionate number of other individuals-have played an oversized role in the transmission of the virus that causes the disease.” Weddings, funerals, and other largely attended events have been shown to lead to these superspreader events where a large number of individuals may be infected, particularly when there is a lack of social distancing and mask wearing. As the pandemic continues, Pitkin County Public Health urges the public to limit the size of gatherings to reduce spread of the virus.
Please take extra care when attending events or gatherings. Remember to avoid the 3 C’s
- Closed Spaces with poor ventilation
- Crowded Places with many people nearby
- Close-contact Settings such as close-range conversations
When the 3 C's overlap, there is a high risk of a COVID-19 cluster outbreak. The more people that an individual interacts with and the longer that interaction lasts, the higher the risk of becoming infected with and spreading COVID-19.