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COVID-19 is present in the visitor population, but there is limited evidence of transmission to locals
Contact: Nicole Valentine, Public Affairs Coordinator, Summit County Public Health
SUMMIT COUNTY – St. Anthony Summit Medical Center shared newly compiled COVID-19 visitor data Tuesday with Summit County Public Health and other community leaders. Summit County does not have access to visitor data through the state, since tests results are reported to a person’s county of residence per CDPHE guidelines.
The data included cases among patients at local Centura facilities that conduct COVID-19 testing, including the hospital, Centura Center for Occupational Medicine and mobile clinics. These data do not capture COVID-19 activity among sick visitors or residents who sought care outside the Centura system and thus do not represent a complete picture of the prevalence of disease in the visitor or resident populations. The available data show that since mid-June, the number of positive test results among visitors has exceeded positive tests among local residents at Centura facilities in Summit County.
"This shows that COVID-19 is definitely present within our visitor population, but it’s not at a level that’s surprising or cause for serious alarm," Summit County Public Health Director Amy Wineland said. "Preliminarily, it appears that our visitors are not having an impact on our local levels of disease spread, so I’m really encouraged by these data. We appreciate our partners at St. Anthony Summit Medical Center for their ongoing efforts to provide us with a clearer picture of COVID-19’s presence in Summit County."
Since the disease’s arrival in early March, local Centura facilities have conducted more than 2,800 diagnostic tests, a substantial majority of the total tests conducted locally. More than 190 of those tests detected the virus.
During the four weeks following the July 4 holiday weekend, 36 visitors tested positive, and 21 Summit County residents tested positive in local Centura facilities. During the same period, 546 visitors were tested, and 782 locals were tested in Centura facilities in Summit County. Total local resident cases – including those not tested at Centura facilities – have declined fairly steadily since a spike that occurred shortly after Independence Day.
"Our local cases are going down even as our visitation numbers have soared in the last two months since we reopened much of our economy," Wineland said. "We should cautiously celebrate as a community. We are making science-based decisions, and we are seeing high levels of resident compliance with the Five Commitments to Containment. But we have to remain diligent, because we are not out of the woods yet."
Wineland said that it is not surprising for positive visitor cases to be higher than those of locals, because the number of visitors that come to Summit County can often exceed the local resident population. She noted that the capacity of the health care system has not been overwhelmed at any point, and that capacity remains excellent.
"Here’s the bottom line: Wear a mask, stay 6 feet apart, wash your hands, stay home if you’re sick, get tested if you have symptoms. These measures work, and they will continue to work even if some of our visitors are carrying the virus," Wineland said.
Moving forward, Summit County will continue to collaborate with Centura in hopes of providing the community with periodic updates on visitor data.