COVID continues to spike in Kremmling

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by Marissa Lorenz
On September 30, Grand County Public Health (GCPH) and Middle Park Health (MPH) announced a COVID-19 outbreak in Kremmling with nine confirmed cases among residents and staff of the Cliffview Assisted Living Facility and two potential cases at West Grand High School, which sent students home, pending results.

As of Wednesday, October 7, Abbie Baker, Deputy Director of Public Health, confirmed that “there are 40 active cases in Grand County in the last two weeks, with more than half being associated with the Cliffview Assisted Living outbreak.”

Cliffview outbreak source still unknown

The means of introduction to the facility of the novel coronavirus, which has proven especially dangerous to older people and those with underlying medical conditions, is still under investigation.

The State is doing a virtual walk-through of the facility, according to Public Health Director Brene Belew-Ladue. They are now requiring long-term care facilities to test negative residents every three days to ensure early diagnosis.

In order to prevent further exposure, Public Health and Middle Park Health, managers of Cliffview, are working “to figure out how to handle the COVID positive patients & non-COVID patients,” says Belew-Ladue.

High school contacts under quarantine

The high school cases were reported positive on Friday and West Grand School District implemented a prepared plan to continue with virtual learning for the entire high school cohort through October 15.

A plan to set up a mobile location is being determined in order to “offer testing to those that have been issued quarantine letters from Public Health in relation to the cohort quarantine at West Grand High School,” explained Baker.

In accordance with HIPPA privacy laws, Public Health cannot disclose the number that have been identified as potentially exposed nor whether the school cases are related to the Cliffview outbreak. They are only testing for surveillance in possible outbreak locations and are not offering testing for the general public.

Second outbreak reported

In a regular update to the Board of Health/Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday, Belew-Ladue reported a second outbreak associated with a local church congregation. An outbreak is defined as two non-family cases associated with exposure at a single facility or workplace within a two week period.

Although not confirmed as the location of the second outbreak by Public Health, parishioners of Grand Catholic Churches received an email on Friday evening indicating that church leadership were in quarantine after being notified that they had been exposed to coronavirus on September 28.

As a precautionary measure, the church cancelled masses until October 14, but Pastor Peter Wojda reported experiencing symptoms. By Saturday, he had a positive result and, though he assured that he had been following safety precautions throughout, he encouraged any congregants with symptoms to self-quarantine and get tested.

Father Peter reassures that only one other household is associated with the church-related outbreak at this time. Contact tracing has found no connection between the two outbreaks. However, a new hospitalization in the last week is linked with one of the outbreak locations. The patient is hospitalized in Denver.

Other local data

The County’s data worksheet reported a total of 100 resident cases since the start of the COVID-19 through Wednesday. There are 31 known associated cases in those whose primary residence is out of the county. They are reporting a two-week case rate of 206.67/100,000, based on a population of 15,000, and resulting in level 2/concern under Safer-at-Home status.

People currently under quarantine and isolation orders in Grand County total 162. Anyone that has been in contact with a positive case must be quarantined for 14 days from their last contact with the positive case.

“Only those that have had direct contact with a positive case will be asked to quarantine, reminds Baker. And those who “have had contact with someone on quarantine are not at risk because the person on quarantine may not be contagious or may not develop symptoms at all.”

“If a person on quarantine becomes symptomatic, their contacts will need to quarantine until the symptomatic person is tested,” she explains. “If that person is positive for COVID-19, official quarantine letters will be issued by Public Health.” Geographic spread is reported as 32.9% in West Grand, 37.6% in Granby and Grand Lake, and 29.4% in the Fraser Valley. Again in order to protect privacy, location data is only updated once a week and is accurate as of Friday, October 2, when the total case count was at 85 confirmed positive cases.