More closures in Colorado as social distancing becomes primary objective

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RBC | Governor Polis and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment have issued more orders in their attempt to help slow the spread of coronavirus.

  • All Colorado schools will be closed through at least April 17. Meeker School District issued a statement that staff will be working to put alternative learning plans in place, as well as provide free and reduced breakfasts and lunches during the closure. Rangely School District has not yet returned a request for comment, but did post a plan to provide school lunches (find it in our great big list of resources.)
  • Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment issued a public health order, effective at 12:01 a.m. March 19, to “limit all mass gatherings to no more than 10 people for the next 30 days unless otherwise extended by the executive director of CDPHE.” Read it here. Noncompliance is subject to a $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail, according to the order.
  • Mandatory business closures were expanded to include “non-essential services” including hair and nail salons, spas, tattoo parlors and massage parlors. Also closed by order of the governor are dine-in services at restaurants (takeout and delivery are still available), bars, gyms, theaters, schools and casinos. Closures will be in effect through at least April 30. The Small Business Administration announced loans of up to $2 million are being made available through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, with an interest rate of 3.75% (2.75% for nonprofits) and terms up to 30 years. More information on SBA Disaster loans here.
  • Thursday, the governor expanded the take-out and delivery options at local restaurants to include alcoholic beverages.

All these efforts support health officials’ attempt to “flatten the curve,” which means slowing transmission of COVID-19 through social distancing (in essence, staying away from other people) and taking personal responsibility. The measures are meant to keep health care facilities from becoming overwhelmed with high-risk patients who could become seriously sick.

RBC Public Health Director Alice Harvey stated, “In Rio Blanco County, we stand a chance to lower the curve of this virus if we take social distancing seriously.”

For most people, social distancing will be enough. If you do happen to come down with the illness, staying at home is the recommended course of action unless you develop serious symptoms you feel warrant medical care. In most cases, a COVID-19 infection does not require medical intervention. 20% are likely to develop serious symptoms, mostly those over 60+ and those with pre-existing conditions.

To date, Rio Blanco County has had no positive cases. Multiple tests have been done. Those awaiting results are currently in isolation.

Public Health continues to recommend staying home if you can, and taking extra precautions if you can’t.

The HT would like to remind residents to be kind and courteous to your fellow community members, especially those who still have to work, including our first responders, health care professionals, grocery store clerks, truck drivers, sanitation workers and more. Please support local small businesses however possible.

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For our comprehensive list of closures, updates, assistance and more, click here.

For all our coronavirus-related coverage, click here. We have removed the paywall on these articles to help keep our community informed.

For updates and recommendations on what to do if you have symptoms, go to RBC Public Health’s alerts page.