Department of Public Health and Environment
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
County Announces New Partnership for Widespread Testing for COVID-19
CONTACT: Susan Lilly, Public Information Officer, San Miguel County
(March 18, 2020) -- San Miguel County, CO – San Miguel County Department of Public Health and Environment announced today, at an emergency Board of County Commissioners meeting, a new partnership for a strategic plan to help mitigate catastrophic consequences of Covid-19 (coronavirus).
San Miguel County is partnering with United Biomedical (UBI) and its subsidiary c19 taking on the COVID-19 pandemic, to be the first in the United States to test an entire county with UBI’s COVID-19 blood test.
The testing is being offered free of charge by UBI and c19 and will be administered by the Public Health Department of San Miguel county, with the goal of detecting and containing community spread, and proviiding a more accurate assessment of disease prevalence.
Testing, in combination with strategic “shelter in-place” public health orders, will provide the best chance to mitigate losses, including loss of life.
Individuals who agree to be tested will receive a simple blood draw by a healthcare provider. Tests will then be sent to a lab with results projected to be available within two days. The test will ideally be repeated in 14 days so that public health officials can gauge if the rate of infection is increasing or decreasing in the county.
“This will drastically advance our ability to assess the presence of the virus in our county and allow us to focus isolation strategies,” Grace Franklin, Director of Public Health, San Miguel County said.
In recent days, our county has seen several critically ill residents requiring intensive hospitalization. In the last 48 hours there have been multiple cases in children under 4 years of age in regional Emergency Departments with serious symptoms concerning for COVID-19.
“We’ve entered a new and concerning phase that requires swift action. We have an opportunity to arrest the spread of COVID-19 and potential loss of life,” Dr. Sharon Grundy, County Medical Officer said.
Because of these recent and concerning events in the county and across our nation, county public health officials decided to implement more aggressive measures to contain the virus and mitigate its devastating consequences.
Save as many lives as possible.
Decrease the amount of the population that becomes severely ill.
Protect health care professionals (HCP) and essential service workers (ESW).
A steady roll out throughout the entire population of San Miguel county.
To that end, new Public Health Orders have been initiated including “sheltering in-place.” This means limiting gatherings of people as necessary to protect public health.
Grace Franklin, Director for the San Miguel County Department of Public Health and Environment said, “We know just testing is not enough to fight this virus. If we invest in the short-term inconveniences of isolation and sheltering in place now, we will save lives.”
Here are the Public Health Orders that take effect 12:01am March 19, 2020 and go through until at least April 3, 2020 at the discretion of the Public Health Director:
- Shelter in-place.
- Prohibition of all events more than 10 people.
- Prohibition of all events at daycare centers, child care centers, home child care center, private schools and day schools, community recreational center, ice rinks, and libraries.
- Prohibition of all events at food establishments except for the provision of takeout and delivery of food.
- Cease all activities at business facilities in the county except for minimum basic operations and essential services.
- Cease operations and reservations to short-term lodging.
- All public transportation is considered an event.
- Visitors to San Miguel County are directed to return home immediately. All non-resident homeowners are strongly encouraged to leave the county and return to their primary place of residence.
Violators to these orders are subject to criminal and civil charges.
"Our actions now seem exaggerated to some, but let me assure you all, any actions we want to take later will be severely inadequate," Dr. Grundy said.
Logistics including timing and locations are being worked out and will be announced accordingly.
A new volunteer hotline is available: 970-728-3844
To volunteer or donate, email Tri-County Health Network at Volunteer@tchnetwork.org.
For more information and to sign up for Coronavirus email alerts, go to sanmiguelcountyco.gov/coronavirus.
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.