Larimer County public health officials on Sunday evening announced new proactive protective measures to minimize the spread of the new coronavirus.
Larimer County Public Health Director Tom Gonzales issued a public health order Sunday calling for the cancellation or postponement of events with more than 250 attendees.
The order also called for the closure of senior community centers in the county. The Fort Collins Senior Center and the Chilson Senior Center in Loveland had already announced closures of their facilities through March 27.
As of Sunday, there were 131 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus in Colorado. Only one case has been identified thus far in Larimer County. State health officials indicated Sunday there appears to be “community spread” of the virus in Colorado.
“Rather than waiting for additional positive test results, Larimer County public health officials have issued proactive protective measures to minimize the impact of COVID-19,” a news release from the county health department read.
Following new recommendations from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, the Larimer County health department also urged the cancellation or postponement of events with 50 or more attendees. The CDC’s recommendation is to hold off on such events for at least eight weeks and does not apply to “the day-to-day operation of organizations such as schools, institutes of higher learning, or businesses.
The county health department also stressed the importance of taking the following actions within the Northern Colorado community:
- People at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19 (age 60 or older, those with underling health conditions and pregnant women) should not attend events, public ares and business locations where 10 or more people will be gathered.
- Elective surgeries and noncritical medical appointments should be postponed until further notice to conserve medical resources
- Avoid all nonessential travel. Travel in and out of the community is highly discouraged.
- Practice social distancing: Don’t shake hands, increase distance between people to 6 feet
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer that has at least 60 percent alcohol
- Cover your cough and sneezes
- Stay at home if you’re feeling sick
Though no similar action has been taken yet in Colorado, the governors in four states mandated the closings of bars, restaurants and wineries in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus Sunday.
Shoppers at stores in Northern Colorado were met with bare shelves over the weekend, as residents stocked up on food and household goods. However the corporations have reassured customers that shelves would be restocked. Some retailers — like King Soopers and Walmart — have trimmed hours to ensure employees time to clean and restock the store.
“The panic is largely unnecessary because most retailers are able to replenish products fairly quickly,” said Neil Saunders, managing director of the retail consultancy Global Data. “Also, products like toilet paper are not being used more than usual so people who have already stocked up will not keep buying them.”
Costco’s CFO Richard Galanti said in an earnings call with investors last week that stores are “getting deliveries daily, but still not enough given the increased levels in demand on certain key items. … I would assume that over the next few weeks or several weeks that’ll abate. But it depends what else happens with the virus.”
“Panic breeds panic,” Saunders told USA TODAY. “Pictures of empty shelves on social media cause a ripple effect where more and more people panic about not being able to get the products they need, so in response they go out and stock up. It’s a vicious circle.”
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Jennifer Hefty is an editor at the Coloradoan. Reach her at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @jenniferhefty. Support her work and the work of the Coloradoan’s 15 other journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today.
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