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Fremont County has reported a possible COVID-19 exposure at the property containing Royal Gorge Rafting and ZipLine Tours and Whitewater Bar & Grill. The exposure is the result of at least one employee and one of the business owners testing positive for the coronavirus known as COVID-19.

An initial announcement calling it an “outbreak” was put out by Fremont County Department of Public Health and Environment (FDPHE) on Tuesday afternoon July 29. Interim Fremont County Public Health Director Dr. Tori King said under Colorado’s definition, an outbreak is anytime there are two or more individuals within a group that is not a household who test positive within a 14-day period.

The FDPH says that it learned about the first case last weekend, and received word of the second case last Monday.

During a  Facebook Live press conference on Thursday afternoon, Ty Seufer, the owner of Royal Gorge Rafting and the Whitewater Bar & Grill and the FDPH clarified recently released information on a new outbreak. He confirmed the two COVID-19 cases are solely connected to his rafting division.

He explained that on July 19 one of his raft guides reported not feeling well. The guide was sent home immediately to quarantine. He was tested the next day and on July 22, the test for COVID-19 came back positive.

“It was a terrible day,” said Seufer. “On July 20, my (business) partner wasn’t feeling well. He went and got tested, as well. Those are the two positive cases for Royal Gorge Rafting.”

Image courtesy of Royal Gorge

FDPH says it is in the process of notifying rafters, patrons, and employees at the property containing the two businesses of possible exposure to COVID-19. The exposure time frame is from July 13 to July 19. The outbreak does not involve any employees of Whitewater Bar & Grill or Royal Gorge Zip Line Tours and Seufer said those facilities have different doors, different facilities.

Seufer said both the employee and his business partner have been under strict quarantine since they were tested. While the employee has been cleared to come back to work, the company is waiting another week.

“We have not allowed that. We let him quarantine another week to make sure everything is absolutely clear,” said Seufer. He confirmed that all rafters and guides are required to wear a face-covering while in the facilities and while being transported in the buses that are filled only to half capacity. But while in the water, they don’t wear in them, per health and safety guidelines.

FDPH warned the public Tuesday of possible exposure of COVID-19  and is requesting that anyone who was anywhere on the physical property containing Royal Gorge Rafting and ZipLine Tours and Whitewater Bar & Grill during that time frame, for whatever reason, monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 for at least 14 days after being on the premises. FDPH asks that individuals who were actually at or in the facilities themselves (not just on the physical property) should get tested immediately.

“If you are showing any symptoms, even mild, remain at home, contact your healthcare provider, and get tested,” read their press statement. “Per the owner of Royal Gorge Rafting and ZipLine Tours and Whitewater Bar & Grill, the staff has been following guidelines on social distancing, wearing face coverings/masks, and symptom checking their employees.”

Fremont County does free COVID-19 testing available at FCPH on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 8:30 to 11:30 am.

Testing will continue to be performed via drive-thru at FCPH by appointment only. FCPH reiterates that it will not take any unscheduled people for testing

Testing Location: FCPH Building 201 N. 6th Street in Cañon City, CO.

Directions: Drive east to west through alley (6th Street to 5th Street)

Date and Time: Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Appointments can be made Monday-Thursday 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. by calling 719-276-7450