Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The Chaffee Department of Public Health issued a clear public health directive on Tuesday afternoon as a result of the March 17  county session in which the Board of County Commissioners acted to extend and strengthen the county’s COVID-19 Local Disaster Declaration. The order applies to all unincorporated areas of Chaffee County, Colorado and all incorporated (municipal) areas that do not have their own public health agency: City of Salida, Town of Poncha Springs and Town of Buena Vista.

Public Health Departments around the country have issued tighter standing public health orders to attempt to limit the spread of the coronavirus known as COVID-19. Image courtesy of the CDC.

The declaration authorizes the Chaffee Department of Public Health and the Chaffee Office of Emergency Management to act in accordance with their county  authority as well as the  Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and emergency  roles. It directs public health to issue clear guidelines for how residents and businesses should be conducting themselves in the face of a global health emergency.

The full text of the Chaffee County Public Health document is available here: CCPH-Standing-Health-Order-3.17.20.

The directive, issued by Chaffee Public Health Director Andrea Carlstrom  explains “Chaffee County Public Health (CCPH) anticipates that, due to the contagiousness of the COVID-19 virus and the fact that numerous travelers from around the world visit our area, Chaffee County will see cases of the virus and its transmission within the community. Developing social distancing policies prior to an extensive outbreak has been a proven means of helping to contain COVID-19 outbreaks.”

Among the many directives on this standing order — a direction for visitors to the county to return home, and for lodging operators to cease taking reservations and only offer emergency lodging needs, not to general visitors. It also limits public gatherings to no more than 10, orders bars, restaurants, casinos, hot springs and gyms to close to inside service for 30 days; only authorizing take-out and carry-out food service.

It designates groceries, pharmacies, food pantries, gas stations, banks, hardware and agricultural suppliers as essential services, but discourages other retail operation.   But those must follow CDPHE’s Guidance ( see the Retail Food Establishment COVID-19 Implementation of Public Health Order) to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in the community.

Such guidance includes establishing curbside pickup for customers, encouraging social distancing between customers, establishing limits for customers within the store, dependent on size of retail establishment to enable social distancing, and increased hygienic practices.

The decisions reached in the meeting of county and municipal elected and administrative leaders was covered in this story earlier this morning: