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Local officials are girding for a more restrictive COVID-19 landscape in the near future unless Chaffee County’s residents and visitors can turn things around.

In the twice-weekly COVID-19 roundtable on Dec. 10, Chaffee County Public Health (CCPH) Director Andrea Carlstrom fired the warning shot, anticipating a call from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment as soon as next week in which Chaffee County is groomed for moving up the Red level.

“As you know, we recently were moved by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment from the Yellow (Concern) level to the Orange (High-risk) level on the state’s Dial,” she said in the weekly CCPH situational awareness report.

“Given our continued rise in cases, it is highly likely that we will be moved from the Orange level to the Red (Severe-risk) level within the near future,” she continued, “unless we turn things around. It’s not too late.”

Those protocols include masking and keeping at least a six-foot distance from others while in public and not gathering outside your own household. The recently-launched “Chaffee’s Got Heart” campaign is focused on the steps residents need to take.

“Please be part of the solution rather than the ongoing problem,” said Carlstrom. “Be mindful that every single positive case continues to move our county one step closer to the new Purple level, which is the most restrictive Stay-at-Home level. Since none of us want another shutdown, we again urge all residents to think before they act. We are all responsible for doing everything in our power to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community.”

As of Thursday, Dec. 10 Chaffee County had posted six new daily cases, 91 new cases in the past week and 157 in the past two weeks with a positivity rate of 6.62 percent.

Statewide, 3,973 cases were reported Dec. 9. As of Dec. 10 Colorado’s seven-day positivity rate was 11.23 percent and 79 percent of ICU beds were in use. It is estimated that 1 out of every 40 Coloradans are contagious and 16.5 percent of the population to date has been infected.