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As had been anticipated based on the level of COVId-19 within the county, following discussion at their November 16 regular meeting, the Chaffee Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) has established a temporary policy to move all county public meetings to a fully virtual format through at least January 4, 2022.

Chaffee County government is moving to all virtual meetings until Jan. 4, 2022, and is encouraging mask-wearing throughout the county as the valley deals with a COVID surge. Image courtesy of Chaffee County Public Health

Beginning immediately, the BOCC has established that all county public meetings, including the meetings of volunteer boards and commissions, will rely primarily on the county’s contracted Zoom platform for conduct of meetings and for public participation. In-person, on-site participation will be limited only to staff, elected officials, and board members who are unable to connect remotely.

This decision to increase precautions expands on last week’s request from the BOCC that the public voluntarily use remote participation options as much as possible for county meetings based on the high rates of COVID transmission in the community.

Commissioner Greg Felt noted that so far in November, the community is on pace to double the number of positive COVID-19 cases seen here in a given month throughout the entire COVID-19 pandemic. To date, 277 Chaffee County residents have had a positive COVID-19 case identified in November. There have been 97 positive caes in just the past seven days, and the county’s positivity rate has risen to 6.33 percent.

The BOCC agreed additional precautions are warranted to prevent worsening of the current surge, particularly leading into the holiday season. They plan to revisit the policy after the new year in consideration of the local COVID situation at that time.

The BOCC also reiterated the expectation that individuals wear face masks when in common areas inside county facilities, regardless of vaccination status.

Zoom links to the County public meetings are posted within the individual meeting notices on the calendar found at www.chaffeecounty.org/. Anyone with questions on virtual participation in public meetings or who feels they need assistance with accessing Zoom is encouraged to reach out to the administrative office at 719-539-2218 or email chaffeeadmin@chaffeecounty.org for support