SAN LUIS VALLEY — As the days get longer and the weather gets nicer, it is natural this time of year to start to experience “cabin fever” and the urge to venture outside and spend more time recreating away from home increases. Normally, this is something to encourage, as our great state of Colorado has a lot to offer. However, as the Coronavirus continues to spread and increase among our population, the Governor’s and Public Health orders to stay home are becoming more and more critical. Many people are listening. There are fewer cars on the roads, and social media posts abound of families doing indoor activities or individuals catching up on their reading lists. People working from home are finding humor and creative ways to enjoy appearing on camera.
However, there are also those who are not listening, to the increasing frustration of those closest to them, worried about their loved one’s well-being. Unfortunately, there is not much we as individuals can do to control another’s behavior. The best we can do is continue to spread the word, continue to adhere to the orders the best we can, and provide a good example for others.
The most recent public health order directs that "All individuals currently living within the State of Colorado are ordered to Stay at Home whenever possible. Individuals living in shared or outdoor spaces must at all times, to the greatest extent possible, comply with Social Distancing Requirements, and may leave their Residences only to perform or utilize Necessary Activities."
At this time, “necessary activities” include “outdoor activities that you engage in by yourself or with your household members.” This means that you can go outside, as long as you stay near your home and local area, and walk, run, ski, or otherwise recreate, observing social distancing (keeping 6 feet) from those outside your immediate family or living situation.
For those who are sick or those who are known to have contact with a COVID-19 positive case, it is even more imperative, for the wellbeing of others, to comply with Stay-at-Home orders. At this time, the quarantine and isolation instructions given by public health are voluntary. That means public cooperation is requested and assumed. If people do not follow the orders, public health agencies can involve law enforcement, however, this is not an ideal situation for anyone.
We want to recognize the important role of community and faith-based organizations and leaders in providing social support to individuals and to the community as a whole. During this pandemic, you have an additional important role in slowing the spread of disease. Community and faith-based leaders are in a critical position to reach at-risk neighbors with essential information and assistance. A good old-fashioned phone tree can go a long way to identify and help those who may be in need of help with shopping or just a listening ear to stave off loneliness. And of course, adherence to local and state restrictions on group gatherings is the most effective way to keep vulnerable people from being exposed to COVID-19. The current requirement in Colorado is that if houses of worship remain open, they should use electronic platforms to conduct services whenever possible; or to conduct smaller services with 10 or fewer congregants, and adhere to social distancing requirements that people maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from one another. What this means is that funerals and other gatherings need to be approached in new ways. The need for spiritual and social support for those who are grieving has not changed, but the way we offer support must change, or we put our most at-risk people in danger.
Please help us track illness in the community by filling out our SLV Symptom Tracker at slvemergency.org/slv-covid-19. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the San Luis Valley can be found at the same link. As of 3:00 p.m. today, there are 17 positive COVID-19 cases in the San Luis Valley.
SLV COVID general questions 719-480-8719 for English, or 719-315-5019 for Spanish. You may also email your questions to [email protected].
CO HELP line 1-877-462-2911 (English and Spanish) for Colorado general information.
Colorado updates and guidance: https://covid19.colorado.gov
CDC updates and guidance: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus
Small Business - www.choosecolorado.com
Volunteer or Donate - www.helpcoloradonow.org