January 11, 2022

Memo to Chaffee County Business Community

As our society embarks upon its third year of living with and responding to COVID-19, most recently the Omicron variant, Chaffee County Public Health (CCPH) wants to ensure that everyone in the county, whether an individual, household, or employer, has the current information on what to do when someone tests positive or is a close contact.  As we strive to normalize how we live with COVID-19 with the least amount of disruption to our daily lives, we are asking you to follow these instructions whether CCPH is aware of your situation or not.  Due to the drastic surge in incidence in Chaffee County and the state, we hope that you will follow these directions to mitigate risk and protect yourself, the people you care about, our healthcare system, and essential service providers, including schools.  

Isolation and Quarantine

There are new, shortened isolation and quarantine expectations that allow for many of us to return to work or school quicker than in the past, assuming certain conditions.  To find out more, click on bit.ly/ChaffeeQuarantine here.

Contact Tracing and Case Investigation

CCPH will strive to ensure that you have the isolation and quarantine information at the time of your test and upon receiving notification of your test result.  However, we are empowering all of you to follow these instructions that will be updated as we learn more about Omicron, future variants, and normalizing our response.  Contact tracing and case investigation will continue for high-risk and vulnerable populations, however it is not always possible for CCPH to speak individually with each individual case of COVID-19.  If you test positive and have not gotten an email, text, or phone call from a CCPH Contact Tracer, we first ask that you read the information at the link above.  If you still have questions, you may email us at health@chaffeecounty.org.  If your child tests positive, please make sure to inform their school nurse.

Testing

Not all tests are created equal.  While there are rapid antigen tests being widely used throughout the county, test kits are in limited supply and may not give an accurate result depending on the time or purpose of the test.  As we learn more about Omicron, we are finding that these tests are less effective in detecting COVID-19 than we originally thought and can cause a false sense of security.  It is important that all at-home tests are reported to CCPH through the following link: https://covidbinax.colorado.gov.  The gold standard test continues to be a PCR test.  For more information related to testing in Chaffee County, click on bit.ly/ChaffeeCOVIDTesting.  In general, free CCPH testing is for those who are symptomatic, a close contact, or who have not already tested positive elsewhere.

Vaccinations and Boosters

The most effective way to protect yourself from significant illness or hospitalization due to COVID-19 is to be up to date with your vaccination and booster series.  There are ample opportunities to get vaccinated.  While the definition of “fully vaccinated” has not changed and does not include a booster dose, you are considered “up to date” once you receive your booster shot if eligible.  For a comprehensive list of vaccine providers, click on bit.ly/ChaffeeCOVIDVaccines.  Everyone age 12+ is now eligible for a booster.

By following the above instructions, we hope to move from a “pandemic” response to an “endemic” response in the near future, and it is going to take all of us to get to that place.  CCPH will continue to provide the public with the tools in its toolkit to successfully get to that point.  Please continue to stay at home when sick, wash your hands, wear a mask in most indoor settings when distancing is not possible or vaccination status is unknown, and ventilate indoor environments as much as possible.   

CCPH wishes everyone a healthy and hopeful new year in 2022!

Sincerely,

Andrea Carlstrom, Director
Chaffee County Public Health

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