Estes Park motels, vacation rentals shut down to limit spread of coronavirus
UPDATE, APRIL 8: Public health orders limiting visitors to Estes Park have been extended through April 26.
The Larimer County Department of Health and Environment and the Town of Estes Park have closed short-term accommodations within the Estes Valley to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The orders were first issued March 21.
In a news release, the county said the age and health of a significant portion of the Estes Park population makes it particularly vulnerable to coronavirus.
There are exceptions for local workers, long-term residents of short-term facilities, and those who are ill or quarantined.
ORIGINAL STORY: Community spread of the novel coronavirus continued over the weekend in Colorado, prompting Estes Park officials to warn visitors away from their mountain community. Twelve new Larimer County cases were announced, including the first two in Berthoud, and Fort Collins confirmed its first positive case among city workers.
At 4 p.m. Sunday, the state listed 591 cases, six deaths, 58 hospitalizations and five outbreaks at residential and non-hospital health care facilities. The state could confirm that 5,436 people had been tested across Colorado.
Here's the latest:
Larimer County cases grow to 31
Larimer County health officials reported 12 new coronavirus cases in the county as of Sunday, bringing the total in the county to 31.
The new cases include:
- Three Fort Collins men in their 40s
- Two Berthoud men in their 40s
- Two Fort Collins men in their 30s
- One Fort Collins man in his 50s
- One Fort Collins woman in her 60s
- One Loveland woman in her 60s
- One Fort Collins woman in her 40s
- One Fort Collins woman in her 30s
Both the county and state case trackers referenced a 32nd case in Larimer County, but the county's list of cases listed only 31 individuals.
The new cases were reported as of 10 a.m. Sunday, according to the Larimer County Department of Public Health and Environment.
On Saturday, the confirmed positive COVID-19 cases in the county nearly doubled, bringing the total to 19. There were 10 reported cases in the county as of 7:40 p.m. Friday.
The state health department reported 591 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Colorado, with six deaths as of 4 p.m. Sunday. There have been 5,436 people tested.
Fort Collins employee tests positive
A city of Fort Collins employee has tested positive for the new coronavirus, the city announced Sunday.
The employee has not been into work since March 10 and will remain in quarantine until symptoms and fever subside for 72 hours, per public health guidelines. The city did not say when the unidentified employee tested positive.
All coworkers of the infected employee have been notified, and those with direct contact with the employee will self-quarantine for 14 days, the city said in a news release.
To protect the identity of the individual, the city did not specify which department the infected employee works in.
Two city facilities, the Utilities Service Center 700 Wood St. and the municipal courthouse building at 215 N. Mason St., will be closed to everyone except critical staff for additional cleaning. The closure is out of an abundance of caution, the city said, as the Center for Disease Control's guidelines indicate the risk to others is still low.
All city facilities remain closed to the public.
Through Saturday afternoon, Larimer County had confirmed 19 COVID-19 cases in the county, including 12 in Fort Collins. Across Colorado, state health officials confirmed 475 confirmed of COVID-19, with five deaths as of 4 p.m. Saturday. There have been 4,550 people tested.
Estes Park orders lodging to close
Estes Park is all but shut down in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
A day after the closure of nearby Rocky Mountain National Park over concerns about the spread of coronavirus, or COVID-19, the town of Estes Park and Larimer County’s health department issued public health orders Saturday closing the historic Stanley Hotel, along with other hotels, and short-term rentals through April 17.
The order, which applies to the town and surrounding Estes Valley area, takes effect at noon Monday, officials said in a news release.
Tom Gonzales, Larimer County’s public health director, cited the rapid spread of the coronavirus in other Colorado mountain communities, including Aspen and the Vail Valley, for the latest restriction. Colorado’s state health department and Gov. Jared Polis had previously shut down dine-in service at all bars and restaurants in the state ordered the closure of movie theaters, gymnasiums, casinos, hair and nail salons and tattoo parlors throughout the state.
“The age and health of a significant portion of the population in Estes Park places it at risk of serious health complications from COVID-19,” the order reads. “Although most individuals who contract COVID-19 do not become seriously ill, people with mild symptoms and asymptomatic persons with COVID-19 may place other vulnerable members of the public at significant risk.”
Estes Park Hospital had pushed for the restriction on accommodations in an effort to limit the number of tourists in town, the news release said.
“This is an incredibly difficult decision made with the health of the people in our community in mind — our No. 1 priority,” town administrator Travis Machalek said. “We hope that the sooner we take these measures, the sooner we can celebrate the reopening of our business.”
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