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Summit County Government

Posted on: March 11, 2020

Summit County Provides Guidance for Community Gatherings

CDC illustration of ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses.

Event organizers should provide specific recommendations to at-risk populations

Contact: Julie Sutor, Director of Communications, 970-409-9461

SUMMIT COUNTY – In response to numerous inquiries from the public, Summit County Public Health is issuing guidance regarding the hosting, postponement or cancellation of local public events and gatherings.

As of 5 p.m., Wednesday, March 11, there has been just one known presumptive positive case of COVID-19 who spent time in Summit County. That individual is currently being housed in the Denver area under isolation. Summit County has had no known community spread of COVID-19. Community spread is defined as person-to-person transmission, unrelated to travel history, within a given community.

With one known Summit County case, and confirmed disease activity in nearby counties in Colorado, Summit County Public Health is encouraging local organizations to take COVID-19 transmission prevention into account when planning or hosting community gatherings. However, at this time, each individual organization should make its own final decision that best suits its particular circumstances and attendees.

If you are planning an event, see the CDC’s guidance on events and gatherings: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/large-events/mass-gatherings-ready-for-covid-19.html. In addition to the CDC guidance, Summit County Public Health is providing the below recommendations for hosting a community gathering. Please note that as the COVID-19 outbreak continues to evolve, Summit County Public Health guidance may change.

  • Consider whether your event is either targeted to or will likely draw guests who are 60 years of age or older and/or people who may have underlying health conditions. Direct communication with these high-risk populations is strongly recommended in advance of your event (see below). If COVID-19 begins to spread in Summit County, at-risk individuals should stay home as much as possible, in order to avoid contact with other people. 
  • Be proactive with messaging to event attendees before and during the event. The following recommended language may be helpful in advance of an event:
    • If you are sick, do not attend. Stay home.
    • If you are already attending and begin to feel sick, remove yourself from the event and go home.
    • If you are well and plan to attend, wash your hands frequently with soap and water, cover your cough or sneeze with your elbow or a tissue and be proactive to do your part to reduce the spread of the virus.
    • If you are 60 years of age or older or have an underlying health condition (including heart disease, diabetes, chronic lung disease or cancer) and you contract COVID-19, you are at higher risk for severe illness and complications. In some cases, this can lead to death. 
    • If you are 60 years of age or older or have underlying health conditions, you should strongly consider canceling your attendance. If you consider your attendance at the event to be essential, consult with your health care provider in advance for specific guidance. If COVID-19 begins to spread in Summit County, at-risk individuals should stay home as much as possible to avoid contact with other people.
    • We are interested in hosting healthy and safe events. It is important that you understand your roles and responsibilities in reducing the spread of illness and protecting yourself.
    • This is our current guidance; it is subject to change.  
    • We are working with local public health officials to stay abreast of the most current recommendations. We will provide any new guidance as quickly as possible as it becomes available.
  • Direct prospective attendees to reliable sources of updated information. Event organizers can find the latest information from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) at https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/2019-novel-coronavirus.
  • At the event, provide signage about handwashing and cough etiquette.
  • At the event, provide supplies like tissues, hand sanitizer or access to hand sinks, water, soap and paper towels to facilitate and encourage individual protective behaviors.
  • At the event, practice routine cleaning and disinfection of commonly touched surfaces.

Each event will have unique considerations related to preventive measures. For example, organizers of a business conference of 250 people would need to take different actions than would the coach of a ski team practicing outdoors. For recommendations and considerations, see the CDC event guidance page.

At some point, a decision to cancel or postpone a community event may need to be considered by either an event coordinator or the Public Health Department. Such a decision may be very difficult, but it may be recommended to control the virus if we see community spread in Summit County.

Summit County Public Health strongly urges members of the public to stay home if they are sick: Do not attend community events, do not go to work and limit public exposure to the greatest extent possible. While following this advice, if any families or individuals need food, medication or other essential supplies, they should contact the Summit County Community and Senior Center at 970-668-2940.

CO HELP is Colorado’s call line for COVID-19. People who have general questions about COVID-19 can call CO HELP at 303-389-1687 or 1-877-462-2911 for answers in many languages. Or email cohelp@rmpdc.org for answers in English.

Please note that the novel coronavirus pandemic is a rapidly evolving situation, and all public health guidance is subject to change. 

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