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Summit County Government

Posted on: October 11, 2020

Public Health Investigates COVID-19 Outbreak at Summit County Government

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Summit County reports two positive cases among employees in a department; all positive cases have been isolated and all close contacts have been quarantined

Contact: Jason Lederer, Public Information Officer, Summit County Government

SUMMIT COUNTY – The Summit County Public Health Department, in coordination with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), is investigating an outbreak of COVID-19 in a department within Summit County Government. The department currently has two confirmed cases among its employees.

The department and its employees had been diligent in using proper PPE and following physical distancing measures per CDPHE guidelines for businesses while in the office. However, the two employees who tested positive for COVID-19 also travelled together frequently in a work vehicle without wearing face coverings. CDPHE identifies the following criteria for reducing exposure to passengers from separate households in shared vehicles:

  • Each passenger should use hand sanitizer when entering the vehicle.
  • The number of passengers should be reduced by 50% of the vehicle’s occupancy and passengers sit in locations to maximize distance between one another.
  • All passengers wear a non-medical, cloth face covering.
  • Increase ventilation by keeping windows open whenever possible.
  • Disinfect all high-contact surfaces at the end of each day.

The first employee to develop symptoms was tested on October 2 and the second on October 4. Public Health received the positive test results on October 4 and October 11. The Summit County Public Health Contact Tracing Team has concluded a thorough investigation of the positive cases’ close contacts. All known cases have been placed in isolation, and all close contacts identified have been placed under quarantine. 

"This is an example of how easily the virus can spread in small, enclosed environments, such as vehicles,” Summit County Public Health Director Amy Wineland said. "For these reasons we are urging community members to be thoughtful when traveling in vehicles by limiting passengers to members of their immediate household whenever possible, or by taking appropriate precautionary measures including wearing face coverings and maintaining good ventilation."

Summit County Government is currently restricting access to all of its offices and maintaining minimal staffing to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission between employees, as well as the public. However, one of the employees reported that they did not understand the public health protocols and reported to work while symptomatic. 

One of the individuals who tested positive also hosted a gathering at their residence while symptomatic and after being tested, but prior to receiving results. CDPHE and Summit County Public Health guidelines direct individuals to quarantine while awaiting test results.

“As we have seen the number of outbreaks throughout Summit County increase in recent days, this one hits close to home,” said County Manager Scott Vargo. “Our county stands in a precarious position as we transition towards winter and begin spending more time indoors. I want to remind everyone, including Summit County employees, that if they feel sick, they should get tested and stay home.”

This outbreak demonstrates just how contagious COVID-19 is in indoor environments, including vehicles. Workers and the public can protect themselves and others by following the Six Commitments of Containment outlined in the Public Health Order, including wearing face coverings, washing hands, and maintaining 6 feet of physical distance from others. Employers should have a plan in place for if and when employees develop symptoms while at work, or ahead of reporting to work. Individuals are encouraged to get tested at the first sign of symptoms, and to call out of work if sick.

Testing is available to the public at no cost at the Frisco testing locations and a doctor’s note is not necessary. Individuals can call 970-668-5584 to receive a telephone screening (no prescription required) and testing referral.

In addition, employees and the public are encouraged to get the flu shot as flu symptoms closely mirror COVID-19 symptoms. Flu vaccination is offered at pharmacies and clinics throughout the county, as well as at the upcoming flu vaccination drive on October 21 at the Bus Barn across from the County Commons. Community members are encouraged to make an appointment online to attend. Flu vaccination will be offered free of charge for those without insurance.

Information on Summit County positive cases can be found on the COVID-19 Data Dashboard.

More information on CDPHE’s Dial Framework and metrics for reopening is available on the CDPHE Dial Dashboard.

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