CREEDE- Mineral County Commissioners followed the recommendation from emergency manager Terry Wetherill and extended the county’s emergency declaration for another week. “I recommend keeping in line with all the other counties in the Valley to go ahead and extend the declaration for another week,” said Wetherill. Commissioners voted and approved the extension unanimously before moving on to other COVID-19 business.
Reports given by both Wetherill and Silver Thread Public health director Tara Hardy confirmed 38 cases throughout the Valley as of Tuesday morning. A majority of the rise in numbers is in direct relation to an outbreak that occurred last week in Alamosa at a mushroom farm. Hardy stated that both Hinsdale and Mineral County do not have any additional cases to report but stated that in conversations with Rio Grande Hospital CEO Arlene Harms, additional positive cases for asymptomatic people have been on the rise.
Hardy explained that the hospital has been increasing testing for COVID-19 in order to approve preop patients wanting to get surgeries. “The hospital has increased testing on pre-op patients and have gotten back several positives even though people who were tested showed no symptoms, which confirms that we have asymptomatic community members.”
Hardy has been working with commissioners to submit a COVID-19 variance request for the county and submitted the finalized document Friday. During the meeting Tuesday, Hardy explained that the state is taking as long as two weeks to approve the variance requests that are flooding in from all over the state. If the timeline is accurate, the county may need to submit another variance if state orders change in the meantime.
“If the Safer at Home orders from the state change while we are waiting for approval of our variance, we will have to adjust and submit another variance to meet the new state orders. According to the press conference held by Governor Jared Polis Monday, he is considering opening restaurants as of June 1 and will be looking at state numbers May 23 for new orders. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but we may have to resubmit a new variance,” said Hardy.
Hardy stated that she is currently getting in touch with local lodging and restaurant businesses to inform them of upcoming guidelines and best practices so that they can prepare to open for the summer. Both counties are hoping to have something in place and be at least close to being ready for guests by Memorial Day weekend.
Commissioners thanked Hardy for her report and stated that they will just have to wait and see what the state will do as far as approving the variance. There is a chance that the approval time may be faster than expected.
The variance was sent by commissioners Friday, May 8. More details pertaining to the variance and relaxed restrictions will be made available once the variance has been approved.