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Coronavirus Press Releases

Posted on: March 16, 2020

County Public Health Declares State of Emergency

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Department of Public Health and Environment


County Public Health Declares State of Emergency

CONTACT: Susan Lilly, Public Information Officer, San Miguel County


(March 16, 2020) -- San Miguel County, CO – The San Miguel County Board of County Commissioners today declared a state of emergency, specifically a “local disaster emergency,” and approved two Public Health Orders because of the impact that Covid-19 (coronavirus) is having on our county. 

A Local Disaster Emergency is declared when a disaster, or in this case, a public health crisis, has occurred or may be imminent that is severe enough to require aid to supplement local resources in preventing or alleviating damages, loss, hardship or suffering.

“In making this declaration, we help free up resources, staff, and have access to essential funds at the federal and state level to deal with this public health challenge, a challenge we have never faced before,” County Commissioner and Chair, Board of Health Hilary Cooper said.

In today’s declaration, two new public health orders were issued and approved by BOCC:

1) Effective immediately Public gatherings are restricted to no more than 50 persons.

2) Effective 3pm today all businesses serving food and/or beverages (restaurants, bars) are ordered temporarily closed for 48 hours to implement issued guidelines (to safely operate). Some may choose to remain closed longer. 

Public health “orders” differ from recommendations or guidelines in that they are mandated and enforceable by law. 

Public health officials emphasized they are acting swiftly and proactively to protect public health in efforts to contain Covid-19 (coronavirus).

County Public Health Director said this is a necessary step to meet the public health needs of our community. “We certainly don’t want to overly alarm anyone with the declaration, or public health orders but rather assure people that it is in our best interests to take this next step.” 

Multiple local agencies have been meeting regularly and working together to strategically activate emergency response plans. 

“We are confident we are doing everything we can for the best containment strategies and are counting on our community, businesses and individuals to do their part,” Dr. Sharon Grundy, County Medical Officer said. 

Health officials remind everyone to practice good hygiene and:

  • Dramatically limit visiting public places.

    • Work from home to the extent possible.

    • Only go to public places when necessary (for food or medication)

    • Continue healthy, non-group activities such as walking, hiking, jogging, cycling and other activities that maintain recommended distance from other people.

  • Stay home if sick with any cough, cold or fever symptoms

  • Avoid contact with sick people.

  • Clean and disinfect frequently used surfaces and objects such as cell phones

  • Practice social distancing staying at least 6 feet from other people

  • Avoid gatherings of more than 50 people. 

  • If you must travel, use a private vehicle instead of transportation that puts you in contact with others. 

For more information and to sign Up for Coronavirus Alerts, go to


To protect and preserve the health and environment by providing high-quality public health care services and environmental protection services to the people of San Miguel County.

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