After Memorial Day weekend, Garfield County officials said they saw a spike in COVID-19 cases, about 101 positive tests since June 1. Now heading into Fourth of July, officials are emphasizing the importance of social distancing and wearing face coverings for residents and visitors in order to help slow the spread of coronavirus in Garfield County.
Garfield County officials announced Tuesday the new spike in COVID-19 cases will force the county to stay in the state's Safer at Home phase of reopening while state officials expect other parts of the state to qualify for the Protect Our Neighbors phase, which allows nearly 100% of businesses to open at some capacity.
Yvonne Long, Garfield County's Public Health director, said they must get the cases under control from Memorial Day weekend in order to move on to the next phase.
"We definitely are working hard to get our case numbers down," she said. "The only way we can do that is by each one of us taking on some type of personal responsibility and asking, 'What am I doing in my life today that's going to help decrease the case loads in Garfield County?'"
Long says those who decide to recreate outdoors, see family and friends and celebrate this holiday weekend must take precautions to avoid another spike.
"Just be cautious and be aware of where you are, how many people are there and what you're doing," Long said.
Garfield County is currently operating in the Safer at Home phase with a variance that allows it to open gyms and places of worship. Long said if the county were to see a significant number of cases continuing week after week, then the state would force them back to Stay at Home.
"We're not looking at trying to rescind or go back to what we were [before]," she said. "We're looking at trying to do everything we can to stay in compliance and not have that affect us."
Garfield County officials said in order for the county to move to Protect Our Neighbors, every visitor and resident must wear a mask, wash hands, stay six feet apart, get tested within 1-2 days of symptoms and stay home if sick.