Summit County Emergency Blog

Emergency blog
Activated during disasters and emergencies to provide critical public information. Administered by the Summit County Office of Emergency Management.

View All Posts

Mar 15

Briefing about limitations on Summit County travel and contact due to COVID-19 by Gov. Jared Polis

Posted on March 15, 2020 at 7:29 PM by Eva Henson

Today, Saturday, March 15, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis issued a directive to avoid travel to and from Summit, Eagle, Pitkin and Gunnison counties and for people in those communities to avoid face-to-face interactions as much as possible to limit the spread of the potentially deadly virus COVID-19.

Summit County Commissioner Elisabeth Lawrence, Summit County Public Health Director Amy Wineland, Assistant Summit County Manager Sarah Vaine, Summit County Emergency Manager Brian Bovaird, Summit County Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons and Chief Judge Mark Thompson of the 5th Judicial District held a press briefing this evening to address the directive and to spell out the impacts and expectations on people in the county.

Here are the highlights:

Summit County Commissioner Elisabeth Lawrence:

  • Gov. Polis has issued a statement urging people in the central mountains, including Summit County, to minimize social contact in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19.
  • Anyone who has been in Summit, Eagle, Pitkin or Gunnison counties should minimize contact with all other people. 
  • We are asking our residents and visitors to abide by this directive to do our part to minimize the spread of this very contagious and potentially deadly virus. While the vast majority of people who contract this corona virus will exhibit only minor symptoms and will recover in time, just as they would from a cold or flu, this illness can be very dangerous to people with health complications. We as a community want to protect those particularly vulnerable people by limiting the spread of the illness.
  • This means that Summit County residents and visitors should not travel outside Summit County for the next two weeks unless absolutely necessary and only if they have no symptoms of any illness.
  • We also strongly encourage people to avoid congregating in groups of any size for the next two weeks. If you can work from home, if you can stay away from public accommodations including stores, restaurants and gathering spots, please do so.
  • Again, we realize this will inconvenience people, but since we are an international travel destination, we are taking on this community responsibility to protect our most vulnerable people in Summit County, throughout Colorado and, indeed, across the nation and world.
  • We appreciate everyone’s cooperation with this effort and can assure you that we all want to get back to normal as soon as we can.

Summit County Public Health Director Amy Wineland

  • Summit County has had two presumptive-positive cases of COVID-19. We currently have 34 people with test results pending, and we have had eight negative results and the two positive results so far. One is in isolation in Denver. One is in isolation in Frisco. This case has four contacts, the spouse and three family members in another county that are in quarantine. All of the people with pending test results have been self-isolation. Four people with severe symptoms have been hospitalized.
  • Tests currently are being prioritized for those with symptoms who are older than 60 years and/or have underlying health conditions. Tests also are being provided for health-care providers and first responders to ensure we can provide a strong response system. Hundreds of tests have been sent to the state for testing. There is a backlog of tests and a delay in getting results.
  • If you are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 – including coughing, shortness of breath and fever – please call your health-care provider and isolate yourself from others. In most cases, the symptoms will be relatively minor and will not require specific medical care. If your symptoms worsen, call your health-care provider.
  • Anyone who is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 – even minor ones – should isolate themselves in their homes for at least 10 days until symptoms are alleviated and there is no fever for at least 72 hours without the aid of over-the-counter medications.

Assistant County Manager Sarah Vaine:

  • It is our goal to follow both the spirit and the intent of the governor’s directive by asking people in Summit County – visitors and residents alike – to practice meaningful and effective social distancing. This will impact the entire community, as we ask you to limit your travel and contact with others inside and outside Summit County.
  • We are coordinating with the towns in Summit County as a collective and are working closely with our ski resorts.  
  • We are asking people to:
    • Travel in and out of Summit County only if absolutely necessary.
    • Limit contact with others within the county and outside the county.
    • People who already are here, including local residents, should stay here and not risk transporting the virus out of the county.
    • People who are not in Summit County should plan not to come into the county.
    • For locals, if your job allows you to work from home, please make accommodations to do so. If you can avoid public places, please do so. Limit face-to-face contact with others.
  • We have had only two presumptive positive cases, but we are confident that the virus has been spreading undetected. Although we do not have a large caseload, we want to do everything we can to minimize the transmission of COVID-19 and straining our medical and first-responder resources.
  • Please assist us by calling 9-1-1 only in the event of an emergency. Our dispatchers do not have specific information about office hours or what individual businesses are doing as it relates to social distancing. 

Summit County Emergency Manager Brian Bovaird:

  • This has been an unprecedented experience for all of us. We have an entire team working around the clock. Normally for an incident, we would have resources from across the state or the region. In this situation we are limited to resources in Summit County because every other community is facing the same issues. We have mobilized an entire team. We are coordinated to stay on top of everything in a rapid fashion.
  • As for public safety, we are in good shape with 9-1-1, dispatch, fire, police, law and the hospital to respond to 9-1-1 calls.
  • We have essential personnel in the emergency operations center.  Our partners are working remotely to ensure being as safe as possible.

Summit County Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons:

  • Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the town police chiefs and I have agreed that deputies/officers will begin a selective response to calls for service. Upon receipt of a call, the deputy/officer will evaluate the information and decide on an appropriate response. Deputies/officers shall consider the need to respond in person (i.e., in progress calls) versus the ability to handle calls for service by phone or online reporting. This is done to limit person-to-person contact. Deputies/officers are asked to use their judgement/discretion when handling calls and follow the protective guidance that they have been provided. These precautions are taken to assist deputies/officers with staying healthy during the outbreak and to ensure we have adequate personnel for law enforcement functions throughout this prolonged event.
  • Health and Safety measures have also been taken in the Summit County Detentions Facility to reduce risk and protect both deputies, inmates and the facility itself.
  • Summit County Sheriff Office hours will be modified and staff reduced during this event. Please call ahead of any visit to our office 970-453-2232.

Chief Justice Mark Thompson of the 5th Judicial District (Lake, Clear Creek, Summit and Eagle counties):

  • We understand there is concern about COVID-19, and the Summit Combined Courts are requesting that you please do not come to the courthouses or probation if:
  • You have been diagnosed with COVID-19 (“Novel Coronavirus”) and you have not
    received a subsequent test confirming that you are currently virus-free;
  • You have been in direct contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-
    19 within the past 14 days;
  • You are experiencing a fever, cough, shortness of breath, or any other respiratory
    illness symptoms.

If any of these three criteria apply, please call the Clerk’s Office at (970) 453-2241 to reschedule your court date or request to appear by telephone if you are not represented by
an attorney, or contact your attorney to file a request for a continuance or a telephone appearance.

  • If you are subpoenaed as a witness in a case, please contact the attorney or
    party issuing the subpoena to explain the circumstances and discuss the options available.
  • If you are summoned to report for jury duty, please contact the Jury Commissioner at (970) 453-6479 to reschedule your jury service.
  • Please call to reschedule appointments with the probation department at: (970) 453-9292

  • Updates on court operations will be posted at (