Public health officials announced five additional positive COVID-19 cases over the weekend. Two of those cases were applied to San Miguel County’s overall total, bringing the number of county cases to 41, with eight active cases, as of press time Tuesday afternoon. (Courtesy image)

UPDATE: The San Miguel County Public Health Department announced Wednesday morning an additional new COVID-19 case, 51-year-old male from Montrose, that is related to a previous positive and linked to additional positives within the same company. The workplace exposure occurred while the staff traveled out of state. The team has staff from several counties, with only one confirmed positive case residing in San Miguel County that was previously reported, according to a news release. All staff were tested, the majority experiencing symptoms, with additional tests pending for both staff and close contacts.

This additional case is not included on the dashboard since the individual resides outside the county. 

The San Miguel County Public Health Department announced five new COVID-19 cases over Fourth of July weekend that are not related to previous cases, according to news releases.

A 32-year-old male was traveling through the area with a group of friends and tested positive, according to a county news release Friday. The group left the area and returned to their homes to quarantine. A 56-year-old male visiting the area is currently being treated at Montrose Memorial Hospital in the intensive care unit. A 50-year-old female visitor is currently in isolation. Contact tracing is in progress, and all close contacts have been notified and are quarantining.

The three new cases announced Friday weren't applied to the county's total number of cases and will not appear on the county’s COVID-19 dashboard, as they are all non-county residents, according to officials.

On Saturday, public health confirmed two additional, positive coronavirus cases that are also unrelated to previously announced cases. A 20-year-old male and 43-year-old male both tested positive, bringing the total number of county cases to 41, with eight active cases, as of press time Tuesday afternoon. Both are symptomatic and are isolating, according to a news release.

Public health officials have continually stressed the importance of wearing a face covering and maintaining at least six feet of distance in public, including outside if people can’t physically distance properly. Facemasks are required in all indoor public spaces throughout the towns of Mountain Village and Telluride, as well as on public transportation, including the gondola system.

“One of the key components of our protection is wearing a simple, cloth facemask in public,” county public health director Grace Franklin said in a letter to the public last week. “This easy practice is proven to help reduce viral spread. Remember, this must be worn over your mouth and your nose to help keep respiratory droplets from spreading.

“Even with your facemask, continue to maintain physical distancing, limit group sizes, and stay at home if you are sick. Should you experience symptoms such as shortness of breath, coughing, fever, diarrhea or nausea, call your health care provider for an evaluation and testing.”

As the county’s economy reopened, county manager Mike Bordogna told the Daily Planet at the end of June that additional positive cases at that time weren’t necessarily surprising.

“Increased cases have been expected and will likely continue as factors like group sizes, travel, visitation and activity increase,” he explained. “This has been expected and is likely to continue until there is a vaccine or anti-viral therapies to combat the disease.”

In monitoring the impact of the pandemic locally, public health officials are constantly evaluating caseload and trends, hospital and testing capacity, and contact tracing in determining public health orders.

Before the most recent positive cases, public health officials announced 12 new cases in within week at the end of June, after a month-plus without an active positive case in the county.

At the time, a new release stated, “ample testing is available at the county medical centers, which was bolstered by Telluride Regional Medical Center’s expansion of testing offered in response to recent cases; contact tracing is being handled in a quick, effective manner by the public health team; and hospital capacity in the region is adequate and ICU beds are available.”

According to numbers available on the county’s virus-centric dashboard, testing and transmission have not been impacted by the recent cases, while tracing and treatment is in the “low impact” category of the four-phase measurement system that also includes “moderate impact” and “high impact.”

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