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COVID-19, Novel Coronavirus

Information about COVID-19, Novel Coronavirus

For the safety of our patients, providers and staff, we are not accepting visitors at this time.

Exceptions to these guidelines may be considered on a case-by-case basis for patients who are at the end of life, and our birth center has slightly different restrictions.

We encourage family members and friends to use digital devices to connect with their loved ones in the hospital. Video chats, messages and telephone calls are important to help support patients. Thank you for helping us provide your loved ones with extraordinary care .

Call Center Information & Screening Test Sites - New Updates

Screening Site

The screening site will continue to operate 6 days per week with modified times. Testing is still scheduled via the Call Center and is required to be tested.

  • Monday at Gunnison HHS from 8:30-10:00AM
  • Tuesday by appointment at GVH
  • Wednesday in Crested Butte from 8:30-10:00AM
  • Thursday by appointment at GVH
  • Friday by appointment at GVH and also for Medical, EMS, and Fire by appointment in Crested Butte
  • Saturday by appointment at GVH

Patients who contact the Call Center and are instructed to be swabbed will either be sent to a screening site or receive an appointment, depending on the day of the call. There will be 6-8 appointments available per scheduled day, with at least 2 appointments reserved for essential workers.


For the most current information in our area, visit Gunnison County Health and Human Services.

You will find:

  • Current Updates
  • General Information about COVID-19
  • Frequently Asked Questions

Click here to go Gunnison County Health and Human Services website


UPDATE - MAY 26TH

Pre-operative COVID-19 Testing

Gunnison Valley Health is offering pre-operative COVID-19 testing for community members who are undertaking their procedure at Gunnison Valley Hospital or at another hospital outside of our County. Although the COVID-19 testing will be performed at Gunnison Valley Health, the procedures are different depending on where you will receive your elective surgery. For more information, please download the following documents:

UPDATE - MAY 14TH

Antibody testing clarification

As of this afternoon, GVH has conducted around 240 antibody tests. We are working to update our dashboard with this information as it comes in. These new antibody tests will cause our state positive rate to increase dramatically. We don’t want the appearance that there is another wave of the disease that is currently active. Locally in our numbers, we will list out confirmed PCR positives as we have been. We will also list out the state positives and antibody-positive tests separately

When you have your test results, please refer to your primary care physician to help you interpret the results. Here is a fact sheet for recipients of the test.

There have been a number of questions regarding the new antibody testing that GVH rolled out. To find information on the sensitivity and specificity on the Abbott Architect system please see this FDA emergency authorization test performance.

While this test is very good at determining if someone has had the virus, it doesn’t necessarily translate to immunity. The test doesn’t tell us the levels of IgG, rather it just shows positive or negative. So, we will know if a person had it very reliably but won’t know how much protection their immune response offers.

For more information on how to get tested, please go here.

UPDATE - MAY 12TH

Antibody testing clarification

There have been a number of questions regarding the new antibody testing that GVH rolled out today. To find information on the sensitivity and specificity on the Abbott Architect system please see this FDA emergency authorization test performance.


While this test is very good at determining if someone has had the virus, it doesn’t necessarily translate to immunity. The test doesn’t tell us the levels of IgG, rather it just shows positive or negative. So, we will know if they had it very reliably but won’t know how much protection their immune response offers.

For more information on how to get tested, please go here.

UPDATE - MAY 11TH

Antibody Testing

We (Gunnison Valley Health) are launching antibody testing for the community. The testing will be on a first come first serve basis and the cost will be $75. Click here for detailed information.

UPDATE - MAY 9TH

Screening Site

The screening site will continue to operate 6 days per week with modified times. Testing is still scheduled via the Call Center and is required to be tested.

  • Monday at Gunnison HHS from 8:30-10:00AM
  • Tuesday by appointment at GVH
  • Wednesday in Crested Butte from 8:30-10:00AM
  • Thursday by appointment at GVH
  • Friday by appointment at GVH and also for Medical, EMS, and Fire by appointment in Crested Butte
  • Saturday by appointment at GVH

Patients who contact the Call Center and are instructed to be swabbed will either be sent to a screening site or receive an appointment, depending on the day of the call. There will be 6-8 appointments available per scheduled day, with at least 2 appointments reserved for essential workers.

UPDATE - APRIL 29TH

Stay Vigilant

We have done an incredible job as a community in fighting back this disease. There is growing stress around further reopening. Opening is going to depend on how well we do today and this week. At this point, restrictions could go either way. If we do a good job, we will likely be able to open things up. If we don’t minimize our exposure now, we may have to go back to tighter restrictions. It’s also important to move forward step-wise to allow time for monitoring and adjusting if necessary based on the activities that are occurring. If too many changes occur at the same time it will not be possible to determine what is needing to be adjusted, and it may require moving backwards.

UPDATE - APRIL 27

The Center for Mental Health

The Center Support Line is free and available to our communities 24/7 for anyone feeling stressed, anxious, or just needing someone to talk to. Call 970-252-6220. www.centermh.org/supportline.

They are hosting Facebook live “Coping with COVID” chats every Tuesday at 12 pm. https://www.facebook.com/centermh/.

The www.centermh.org/covid19 page has been updated with lots of useful behavioral health resources, including information on how to gain free access to the myStrength app for individual use.

State vs Gunnison County Positive Tests

There was a massive surge in numbers reported by the state in Gunnison County to 158 over the weekend. Our local numbers show 106. The reason for this is a recent shift at the state level to include probable positive cases. Locally, we are reporting confirmed positive cases only. Under the state definition of probable positive, even if a test comes back negative, if there was potential contact with a known positive case, they are counting it as probable positive. This week, we will be adding a “State probable positive” to our data studio so that we can better reflect how our numbers differ from the state’s. Many of the additions from the weekend were weeks old tests that were connected to a known positive and added by the state retroactively.

UPDATE - APRIL 23RD

Testing

While we have a continued focus on increasing diverse testing capabilities, we do currently have 1,000 tests available. Thus far we have efficiently used the testing we have with one of the most successful screening sites in the state. Our site has an in-person consultation with a physician from a parking lot. As we reopen, we will strategize the use of our available testing to individuals with symptoms, at risk individuals, essential employees, and aggressive contact tracing with a focus on areas of recent reopening. While testing is a cornerstone to reopening, it is not our only tool to track this disease. Symptom reporting, while not perfect, is one of our best early indicators that we may soon see an increased impact on the hospital. If you are feeling symptomatic, please report and isolate yourself. We will take all of these clues and continually plug this data back into our ever-improving modeling.

UPDATE - APRIL 21ST

7th Amended Public Health Order

The 7th Amended Public Health Order was signed today, 4/21/20.

Changes Include:

  • Loosens restrictions on construction sites
  • Opens up elective surgeries
  • Allows for golfing/shooting ranges with maintained social distancing and safety measures
  • Allows for limited one-on-one office activities to execute legal documents
  • Requires face masks for critical business employees and critical government functions
  • Moves the sunset date to 4/26 to coincide with the State’s orders.
  • The official Order as well as a summary of changes can be found online, here.

UPDATE - APRIL 20TH

Asymptomatic Carriers

Many countries, like Italy, Spain, the US and others, only test people who are showing symptoms leading to a wrong age distribution of cases in the population. With data from South Korea, which tested comprehensively across the entire population- symptoms or not- we see an uneven distribution towards younger people. Even if you are not showing symptoms, you could be spreading the virus.

UPDATE - APRIL 17TH

Definitions

Confirmed Positive:

Case who has tested positive using a molecular amplification detection test (such as PCR)

Presumed Positive:

At the beginning the state ran our results and those were considered presumed positive until the CDC ran the verification of that test. This piece to the process is no longer happening.

Probable Positive:

Meets clinical criteria* AND epidemiologic evidence with no confirmatory laboratory testing

OR

Meets clinical criteria* AND has tested positive using an antigen or serologic FDA approved test

OR

Has an epidemiologic link AND has tested positive using an antigen or serologic FDA approved test

OR

Has a death certificate that lists COVID-19 disease or SARS-CoV-2 as a cause of death or a significant condition contributing to death with no confirmatory laboratory testing performed for COVID-19.

UPDATE - APRIL 14TH

Science and Research Team

We have put together a group with a background in epidemiology, health care, and statistics who are reviewing our data and modeling what our future looks like. We have thus far plateaued the impacts on our hospital at a manageable level. This team will be looking to specific dance steps of relaxing restrictions that do not put us back into a growth phase of the disease in our community. Later this week, we will post a presentation by Dr. Hannah Heinrich on some of their findings.

UPDATE - APRIL 13TH

Senior Care Center Updates

There are extraordinary efforts being undertaken to care for each and every one of our residents. They have been receiving an overwhelming amount of support from family members for taking the necessary precautions to care for their loved ones during this difficult time.

Community Outlook

While there are signs that the impacts of this disease are leveling off, we will continue to see people getting sick. This plateau phase could last a while. We must keep spread at a level that will not overrun our healthcare system. As we move into this new phase, there will be a delicate balance between loosening of restrictions while also keeping the spread to a manageable level.

Third Death

Gunnison County’s department of Health and Human Services announced its third death from the coronavirus (COVID-19) on Saturday, 4/11.

“We are saddened to announce another loss of life,” said Gunnison County Public Health Director Joni Reynolds. “We offer our deepest condolences to family and friends. The Public Health Order is aggressive and designed to protect the community. We have begun to hit the plateau phase showing that we are slowing the spread of this disease. This tells us that all of you in the community are doing great work staying vigilant.”

UPDATE - APRIL 11TH

Virtual Town Hall

Incident Command and the County are hosting a virtual Town Hall meeting via Zoom and KBUT (88.7, 94.9, 90.3 FM) on Monday, April 13th at 6pm. Panelists will include Joni Reynolds (Public Health Director), Jonathan Houck (Gunnison County Commissioner), CJ Malcolm (Incident Commander) and Jodie Leonard (Gunnison Valley Health). You can register to join the Zoom meeting here: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_-6iBHo8aSDWRCP8RfZXFyg

We encourage you to submit questions prior to the event by sending a private message to the Health and Human Services Facebook page or leaving a comment on one of our announcement posts. We will also take questions live during the event.

UPDATE - APRIL 9TH

Volunteer Impact

Since 3/22, volunteers have covered 485 shifts comprising 2,477 hours. Our volunteer database is now 570 volunteers deep. Kudos for stepping up to take care of each other.

UPDATE - APRIL 8TH

Validation Testing

Work to develop rapid point of care and immune response testing is still underway. Gunnison Valley Hospital is participating in one such validation study. If you have already been tested, we encourage you to participate in this follow up test. Until this other type of test is validated, the testing is only open to those that have done the other routine swab RNA genetic based test. Once validated, this type of testing will allow us to get a true picture of our community. The point of care testing, much like a strep test you have seen at the doctor, will allow for us to immediately quarantine a sick individual and track their potential exposures. The immune response testing will begin to give us information on the immunity (protection) levels in our community. If you have previously been tested for COVID-19 via the RNA test, please contact the GVH lab to participate in this validation study. 970-641-7259.

Thanks to Essential Workers

There has been tremendous community support for the healthcare and emergency management teams. Let us not forget the sacrifice that others are making to keep us fed, our lights on, and our water running. Sometimes their work is done behind the scenes and invisible to many, yet it’s critical. We cannot thank them enough for the work they have done to keep our community going.

Center for Mental Health

The Center for Mental Health has a free talk line that is open 24 hours per day at 970-252-6220.

100 Test being overnighted

We received word from the State that we will be overnighted 100 additional test kits.

UPDATE - APRIL 7TH

2nd COVID-19 Death

Gunnison County’s department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday, April 7th announced its second death from the coronavirus (COVID-19).

“These are trying times,” said Gunnison County director of public health Joni Reynolds. “We offer our deepest condolences to family and friends. We continue to work together to fight this pandemic in our community.”

UPDATE @ APRIL 6TH

Keep up the good work!

We have come together as a community and we have seen the positive impacts of our adherence to the strict Public Health Orders. Thus far, we have been able to manage the impacts on the hospital. Although some data shows that we might be past our initial surge on the hospital, we cannot relax restrictions now. If we don’t remain vigilant, we could end up with a new even larger surge on our healthcare system. The impact on surrounding tertiary medical centers continues to ramp up. With no ICU beds locally, we cannot risk another surge. We may need to transfer individuals out but may not be able to because of limited availability at other hospitals.

Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures. The health and safety of everyone is paramount in our strict Public Health Orders. We were forced to ban people from coming to the valley that they cherish much like we do. We do this not out of selfishness, we do this out of love. It is not safe to travel and it isn’t safe for anyone to come here. We have among the highest case rate per capita in the country. We are at war with this virus in our community. While these orders might be taking away some of our typical freedoms, the goal is to protect all individuals regardless of where they live. We must make some sacrifice for the greater good of each other.

Gunnison County Sheriff John Gallowich and Public Health Director Joni Reynolds spoke to enforcement of the 5th Amended Public Health Orders in this recorded Q&A. There is a coordinated effort between all law enforcement in the area to address non-compliance. While the hope is that we will have voluntary adherence to the orders, law enforcement is ready to act if need be. Sacrificing our freedoms today will save lives tomorrow. We care deeply about all lives!

UPDATE @ APRIL 4TH

New Public Health Orders

On 4/03/2020 Joni Reynolds, Public Health Director, signed a 5th Amended Public Health Order. This pushes the sunset date to 4/30/2020 as well as clarifies restrictions on non-residents and those who have recently traveled. An additional clarification of the 5th Amended Public Health Order is listed below as well.

The purpose of these amendments are:

1) to amend and clarify the existing Order to further restrict the gathering of person(s)

2) to extend the duration of the existing Public Health Order to 4/30/20.

3) eliminate all non-essential services, travel and activities or sales of goods unless expressly permitted in the Public Health Order

4) orders all residents of Gunnison County who travel outside of Gunnison County for any period of time to isolate and quarantine from all other persons for a period of 7 days.

5) prohibit all non-residents, including non-resident homeowners, from remaining in Gunnison County during the duration of this Order.

The Public Health Director finds that non-residents, visitors and non-resident homeowners from lower altitudes are at a greater risk for complications from COVID-19 infection than residents, who are acclimatized to the high altitude environment of Gunnison County.

The Public Health Director also finds that non-residents, regardless of whether they own a residence in Gunnison County, are imposing unnecessary burdens on health care, public services, first responders, and food and other essential services, and are creating issues with regard to enforcement of Gunnison County’s public health orders.

Accordingly, the presence of non-residents and visitors, including non-resident homeowners, is no longer permitted in Gunnison County in order to maintain public health and safety and to continue to address the COVID-19 pandemic, unless otherwise expressly permitted by this Order, including if granted an exemption or waiver by the Public Health Director under the provisions of this Order.

The Public Health Order does allow the business, events and activities permitted in the order to continue (e.g. delivery drivers to grocery stores or gas stations, medical personnel to assist in hospital operations, law enforcement to assist in the enforcement of this Order).

6) The Gunnison County Public Health Orders control over any executive order issued by the Governor and Public Health Orders issued by the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE).

The non-resident exemption form can be found on our website as well as here.

We have posted the signed version as well as a pdf of the redline version so that you can see the changes from the 4th order.

Clarifications: Fifth Amended Public Health Order

Since Gunnison County’s Fifth Amended Public Health Order was signed and issued Friday, April 3, some confusion has emerged concerning non-essential services, travel, activities or sales of goods.

Between the fourth and fifth amendments, some language was updated in the third full paragraph of Page 3 in hopes of clarifying that all non-essential services, travel, activities or sales of goods were to be eliminated. But there are, of course, some exceptions.

There was no intent to change the aspects of the Public Health Order that allow non-essential retail stores to operate by online or over-the-phone sales, except goods ordered through such means must be delivered by mail or by delivery to a customer’s home or vehicle outside of a retail location (Page 7, Paragraph a).

There has been some confusion, too, about Paragraph P (Page 12) concerning out-of-county travel.

As of April 3, all residents who travel outside of Gunnison County for any period of time are to isolate and quarantine themselves (from all persons, without exception) for a period of at least seven days. If such person experiences any symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g., fever, cough, shortness of breath), they are then further required to remain isolated and quarantined seven days OR until 72 hours after the quarantined person is afebrile (resolution of any fever without the aid of medication), whichever is later.

The self-isolation/quarantine should start once the individual has returned to Gunnison County.

To read the Fifth Amended Public Health Order in full, visit our Public Health Orders page.

UPDATE @ APRIL 3

Updated Public Health Orders

On 4/03/2020 Joni Reynolds, Public Health Director, signed a 5th Amended Public Health Order. This pushes the sunset date to 4/30/2020 as well as clarifies restrictions on non-residents and those who have recently traveled.

The purpose of these amendments are:

  • to amend and clarify the existing Order to further restrict the gathering of person(s).
  • to extend the duration of the existing Public Health Order to 4/30/20.
  • eliminate all non-essential services, travel and activities or sales of goods.
  • orders all residents of Gunnison County who travel outside of Gunnison County for any period of time to isolate and quarantine from all other persons for a period of 7 days.
  • prohibit all non-residents, including non-resident homeowners, from remaining in Gunnison County during the duration of this Order.

The Public Health Director finds that non-residents, visitors and non-resident homeowners from lower altitudes are at a greater risk for complications from COVID-19 infection than residents, who are acclimatized to the high-altitude environment of Gunnison County.

The Public Health Director also finds that non-residents, regardless of whether they own a residence in Gunnison County, are imposing unnecessary burdens on health care, public services, first responders, and food and other essential services, and are creating issues with regard to enforcement of Gunnison County’s public health orders.

Accordingly, the presence of non-residents and visitors, including non-resident homeowners, is no longer permitted in Gunnison County in order to maintain public health and safety and to continue to address the COVID-19 pandemic, unless otherwise expressly permitted by this Order, including if granted an exemption or waiver by the Public Health Director under the provisions of this Order.

The Public Health Order does allow the business, events and activities permitted in the order to continue (e.g., delivery drivers to grocery stores or gas stations, medical personnel to assist in hospital operations, law enforcement to assist in the enforcement of this Order).

  • The Gunnison County Public Health Orders control over any executive order issued by the Governor and Public Health Orders issued by the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE).

The non-resident exemption form can be found on our website as well as here.

We have posted the signed version as well as a pdf of the redline version so that you can see the changes from the 4th order.

UPDATE @ APRIL 1

Public Gatherings

  • The Public Health Order restricts all public gatherings to groups of 1
  • For purposes of outdoor recreation there is allowance for households to recreate together (ie. take a walk together or ride bikes together) with physical/social distancing
  • Remain within your household bubble

Wearing Face Covers

We recommend that you cover your nose and mouth when leaving your home for essential travel to the grocery store, doctor, or pharmacy. Safely cover your face with a bandana or homemade, cotton face covering, reserving hospital grade masks for health care workers and those who are sick.

Studies indicate that there is no reason to not use a face covering as a precaution and wearing something over your nose and mouth can provide an additional layer of protection for those who must go out. Many aren’t aware they are spreading COVID-19 as they carry it without having symptoms, or their symptoms are mild. The spread of the virus occurs primarily through droplets from an infected individual, which fabrics can filter. A face covering helps lessen the risk for a healthy individual to breathe in droplets as well as lessens spread from one who may not realize they’re sick.

Wearing face coverings also serves as a strong message to others that these are not normal times, and that we all need to change our behaviors to stop a devastating epidemic.

As more residents start wearing face coverings, this action may be regarded as an act of solidarity, showing that all residents are on board with the responsible steps needed to reduce the spread of the virus.

Also, face coverings are a good way to remember not to touch your face. Wearing a face covering will deny you access to your own face and make you conscious of how often you are tempted to touch your nose and mouth.

When face coverings are combined with frequent hand washing, they reduce the transmission of infections.

A Message to Visitors

Since March 16th, visitors to Gunnison County have been “directed to return home immediately upon the issuance of this [Public Health] Order by the fastest and safest available means, and persons considering visiting Gunnison County should remain home.” Along with a shutdown of short-term lodging, the visitors ban is designed to fight the spread of the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19) in a county that has seen one of the highest case rates per capita in the U.S.

As Gunnison County fights fiercely to protect against COVID-19, it also fights to protect its resources. In particular:

  • Supplies at markets
  • Medicines at pharmacies
  • EMS and law-enforcement capacity
  • Beds and tests at our small regional hospital

For the foreseeable future, businesses in Gunnison County are for county residents only. No visitors allowed. But please know: We can’t wait to welcome you back to a valley rich with beauty and free of COVID-19.

UPDATE @ MARCH 31

A Letter from Tina Wilson, Gunnison Valley Health Lab Director

The Gunnison Valley Hospital Laboratory is partnering with Vibrant America Clinical Laboratories, who are developing (with the FDA) a home collection kit for COVID-19, looking for antibodies. This will help determine what stage of the viral infection you are in and if you now have antibodies against the COVID-19 virus. This information will provide significant research to improve testing methodologies. Thanks so much for your help!

We are looking for 50 patients who have tested positive and 30-40 who have tested negative for COVID-19. You must be 14 days from your swab collection if you tested positive. We will not be testing anyone that could still be infectious.

We will be asking you to sign a consent, have 1 tube of blood collected and you will poke your finger and put a drop of blood on a piece of paper. We will then send your specimens to Vibrant Laboratories for testing. GVH Laboratories will receive your blood test results, and we will notify you when we receive those results.

This study is free to participants, you may call the GVH Laboratory to schedule a collection or we may reach out to you from GVH Laboratory. We will be collecting every day of the week from 8:00-11:00 until we complete the study.

GVH Laboratory Phone Number – 970-641-7259.

Thank you in advance, this is a great opportunity to aid in the development of accurate Antibody testing kits, so patients do not have to leave their residence.

Sincerely,

Tina Wilson, MT (ASCP)

GVH Laboratory Manager

UPDATE @ MARCH 30

Mental Health

We know that these are trying times for everyone in the community. There are a number of mental health resources available in our community.

  • The Center for Mental Health has set up a free 24-hour talk line. Call 970-252-6220

  • Gunnison Valley Health Joe Petersen, Peer Support Specialist. Call 970-596-8182

  • Here is a great resource for families coping with stress from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.

UPDATE @ MARCH 27

4th Amended Public Health Orders

After reviewing the State Executive orders and the new State Public Health Orders, Public Health Director, Joni Reynolds issued a 4th set of Public Health Orders late on 3/26/2020. The main change in the language is surrounding what constitutes an “event” the state level orders did not align with our orders on this front. Now an “event” is defined as any gathering of more than 1 person that doesn’t reside within the same residence. The new order also pushes the sunset date of the orders back to April 11th to coincide with the state’s order. The Gunnison County Public Health Order is more restrictive than that of CDPHE and therefore controls over the state’s order.

UPDATE @ MARCH 26

Hospital Impacts

As of 4:30 PM, there were 3 patients who arrived at the ED with respiratory symptoms, one of them was admitted. There was an average of 37% capacity for the ED throughout the day. No patients worsened or were transferred today. 2 patients were discharged to recover at home. Currently there are 3 patients in beds, all with respiratory symptoms. One is amber and 2 are green. That is an average of 30% capacity for Med/Surg over the course of the day. Overall, 15 patients have been admitted with respiratory illness since the beginning of the incident. Green-stable, we are treating and hopeful to discharge to home in the next 24-48 hours. Amber-not-so-stable, symptoms are worsening and we are providing extra care for them, no discharge anticipation. Red-unstable, probably going to have to breath for them soon and likely going to transfer out or has transferred out to a higher level of care.

UPDATE @ MARCH 25

Hospital Impacts

The Emergency Department averaged 25% capacity today. Med/Surg averaged 38% capacity today. There were 3 patients whose symptoms worsened and they needed ICU care. All 3 were transferred to St. Mary’s. These 3 are included in the tally of 9 patients overall who have transferred out of Gunnison since the start of the incident. Three patients are currently in beds (23% capacity). One is amber, 2 are green. Total patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 that have required hospitalization at GVH is 14, to date. Green-stable, we are treating and hopeful to discharge to home in the next 24-48 hours. Amber-not-so-stable, symptoms are worsening and we are providing extra care for them, no discharge anticipation.

GVH Updates March 24th

Backcountry Use

As you may have heard through social media and news outlets, San Juan County has banned backcountry skiing. Ouray County’s Sheriff’s Office has also made a request that residents halt “high risk” backcountry activities like backpacking, climbing and backcountry skiing.

We recognize that residents of Gunnison County have found solace, peace and mental health benefits over the past several difficult weeks from participating in activities like backcountry skiing and climbing. We also recognize that mountain biking season is right around the corner at Hartman Rocks.

At this point, and moving forward, any need for search and rescue or emergency services will put a significant burden on our healthcare system. Having to initiate a rescue will force first responders and your partners to break social distancing protocols and potentially expose them to COVID-19.

We do not have any plans to discourage backcountry use at this time, but we are asking all users to dial down their expectations and dial up their risk management. One way to think about your risk choices would be to ask yourself if you would feel totally fine doing what you are doing with no partner, no rescue equipment and no evacuation plan. You should not be relying on emergency services to provide a rescue during this pandemic.

While the backcountry has seen an uptick in use during this time, we also are encouraging avid backcountry users to try lower risk activities. Now is a great time to try Nordic skiing, hiking, running or fly fishing. If you do choose to use the backcountry, please tune into resources like the Crested Butte Avalanche Center and bring your full attention to the level of risk that you are placing yourself, your partners and your first responders in.

GVH Updates March 23rd

Social Distancing

Business compliance and social distancing is very important. Social distancing does in fact apply to children as well as adults. Children can be vectors for this disease, so please self isolate at home away from group settings to eliminate any risk of your children bringing this virus home to parents or other family members.

GVH Updates March 21st

Alternate Treatment Facility

Gunnison County Public Works has re-purposed the Fred Field Building at the Gunnison County Fairgrounds as an alternate treatment facility in case of a surge of hospitalized patients affected by COVID-19.

Co-incident commanger and EMS Captain C.J. Malcolm told the Times this morning that the building is well-suited for an alternative treatment center in that it has a strong exhaust system which will keep fresh air flowing through the room should it become filled with patients. The room will be used in the event of hospital overflow to treat noncritical patients who need more support than they can receive at home.

“Our goal is to never use it,” Malcolm said.

Additionally, Malcolm said a type 2 strike team has been requested which will consist of five ambulances containing pre-hospital ventilators which will be stationed in the Gunnison Valley. The strike team — a homgenous group of resources, in this case ambulances — will service the region stretching from Chaffee County to Telluride. It will tranfer patients who need a higher level of care out of region to other facilities for treatment.

GVH Updates March 20th

Potential Impacts on the Hospital

Gunnison County is working on a way to better reflect the impacts that the hospital is seeing. They are considering a green, amber, red type indicator to display to the public. The numbers can change so quickly there and we want to ensure we are portraying an accurate message. Gunnison County doesn't currently have a need for an alternate care site, but are working to adapt the Fred Field Center should we have a surge of folks to the healthcare system.

State Orders for Ambulance Strike Team

A Type II Ambulance Strike Team was ordered today with the state to be a local and regional asset. This includes a Strike Force Leader and 5 ALS Paramedic Ambulances. We are uncertain of its arrival or availability at this time.

GVH Updates March 19th

We are beginning to see the growth in treatment phase of this pandemic in our community. We cannot stress enough the importance of social distancing to slow the spread of this disease. We MUST adhere to the Public Health Orders so as not to overwhelm our healthcare system. While we don’t anticipate the need to use the Fred Field House as an alternate care facility, we are taking proactive measures to stand it up as an alternative should GVH become overloaded.

Special Shopping Hours for 60+

Walmart: Starting on Tues, March 24th, Walmart will be dedicating 6:00am-7:00am hours to age 60+ every Tuesday.

Safeway will be allowing shopping for the elderly, immunocompromised, pregnant, and other people with health conditions on Tuesday and Thursday 7:00am-9:00am.

Clark’s Market in Crested Butte has Senior Shopping Hours from 8:00am-9:00am each day for residents 60+ years of age.

City Market: Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 7:00am-8:00am is available for anyone 60+.

GVH Updates March 18th

  • The Senior Care Center has been testing all employees per state regulations. As of today, we will be testing all GVH employees entering the building using COVID screening techniques. Anyone testing positive will be given the appropriate follow up.

  • Public Health Order issued from Gunnison County

Latest Update March 17 - Screening Updates

The following patients with COVID-19 symptoms are asked to please call the call center at 970-641-7660.

  • Healthcare workers
  • Employed in public safety occupation (e.g., law enforcement, fire fighter, EMS)
  • Part of an illness cluster in a facility or institution (e.g., healthcare, school, corrections, shelters)
  • With severe lower respiratory illness (hospitalized or fatal)
  • With worsening symptoms
  • Older than 60 years
  • With underlying medical conditions
  • Pregnant women
  • Had contact with a lab-confirmed COVID-19 patient

Some positive feedback during this time

“My profound thanks to all who have planned and delivered health care and other services over the past several weeks as our community has responded to the current health emergency. Your work and dedication confirm my belief that Gunnison County's health services infrastructure and delivery system is the best in Colorado. For your knowledge, commitment, hard work and ability to work together in the most difficult of situations we are all very grateful.”

Ronda Connaway

Latest Update March 16 - Self Reporting

In an effort to better track folks throughout our community and minimize call volumes to the call center, Gunnison County Health and Human Services have created a google form for those that are showing symptoms. If you are feeling symptomatic, but are not high risk, we ask that you fill out the form instead of call in. www.gunnisoncounty.org/covid19 As this information becomes more available we will begin posting some of those numbers.

Social Distancing

While our social distancing and public health orders may seem severe, our model is being adopted across the state and possibly beyond. Our number one priority is to ensure that health care and emergency services are available to those that need it most. In order accomplish this, we have to slow the spread of this illness.

You can still get outside and recreate, so long as you are practicing social distancing, we encourage everyone to keep up the active lifestyle that our community loves.

Latest Update March 13 - People at Risk for Serious Illness

As COVID-19, novel Coronavirus begins to spread within the USA, the senior population and people who have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, or respiratory sickness are the most vulnerable and at risk of transmitting the virus.

If you are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, you should:

  • Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others
  • When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often
  • Avoid crowds as much as possible
  • Avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel
  • If you are unable to access food or household supplies on your own, ask for help.
  • Stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of being exposed

Watch for symptoms and emergency warning signs

Pay attention for potential COVID-19 symptoms including, fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you feel like you are developing symptoms, call your doctor.

If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. In adults, emergency warning signs:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

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As at March 12, there are three (3) people that have tested positive to COVID-19 in Gunnison County.

Gunnison Valley Health is here to meet all of your healthcare needs.

  • If you have a medical emergency call 911.

  • If you are concerned about your fever and flu-like symptoms that may be related to COVID-19, please call the Gunnison County Health Hotline at 970-641-7660.

  • If any of your symptoms become worse or you have difficulty breathing, call 911 or come to the emergency department.


Latest Update March 12 - New Public Health Screening Site and Screening Prioritization

Public Health has advised that in order to protect the highest risk groups in the community, they will prioritize screening for those that need it most. The Gunnion County Health Hotline is in place for initial screening. Those deemed at the highest risk will receive instructions for a screening at the drive-in screening center which will open tomorrow, March 13 and will remain open Monday-Friday from 10am to 2pm. The drive-in screening center will be supported by Gunnison Valley Health trained staff. Health and Human Services is also working to create a secondary screening location in the north valley in the coming days.

Latest Update March 10 - New Gunnison County Health Hotline - call 970-641-7660 between 8am-6pm 7 days a week.

Gunnison County has established a local dedicated call center during the hours of 8am to 6pm seven (7) days a week. If you are experiencing a fever and flu-like symptoms that may be related to COVID-19, please call the hotline who will screen you and provide more information.

If any of your symptoms become worse, you experience difficulty breathing or have a a medical emergency, please contact 911 or come to the emergency department.


Latest Update March 10 - Visiting Patients at the Hospital

As a precautionary measure, we are encouraging limited patient visitation to our hospital. If you have a fever, cough or shortness of breath, please do not visit the hospital. The doors to the Patient Care Unit are secure and all visitors must enter through the Emergency Department.


Latest update March 9 - Restricted Access to Senior Care Center and Assisted Living

As COVID-19, novel Coronavirus begins to spread within the USA, the senior population are the most vulnerable and at risk of transmitting the virus.

Over the next few weeks, it is expected that between 5,000 – 10,000 visitors will arrive to the Gunnison Valley to participate in Spring break vacations. We want to be proactive and implement every measure possible to ensure our senior community is safe.

Starting from 7pm March 9, we are prohibiting all visitation to the Senior Care Center and Assisted Living. During this time, we will be limiting out of facility transport to essential appointments only. We are monitoring this situation daily and encourage family members to call their loved ones to maintain contact during this time.


Guidance for communities concerning COVID-19, novel coronavirus.

Gunnison County Public Health and its partners within the healthcare system are ensuring the community is prepared for COVID-19. There are 7 different types of the coronavirus, most of which are the common cold. The strand of virus we are concerned with is COVID-19, which was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and continues to expand.

The Colorado Health Emergency Line, or CO Help, has been set up to provide information about COVID-19, call 1-877-462-2911 with questions. Language interpretation is available.

In order to keep everyone safe, we all must do our part to slow the spread of any illness by preparing now.

What you can do:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing.
  • Avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Get an annual flu vaccine if you have not had one.

What to do if you think you have COVID-19

  • Stay home if you develop a fever, cough or shortness of breath.
  • Wear a face mask (surgical mask if you have one) or cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing.
  • Wash your hands frequently and don’t share personal items (drinking glass or utensils) with others.
  • Call your healthcare provider. Do not show up at a clinic, urgent care or the emergency department unannounced.
  • Your doctor’s office will assess your illness on the phone, which may include information or other guidance for you and household members.
  • Testing for COVID-19 is not a routine test. Your healthcare provider will work with local and state public health officials to determine who should be tested for COVID-19. All testing is currently limited to those with the highest risk of exposure.

Contacts and additional information:

Gunnison County Public Health: 970-641-3244 or visit gunnisoncounty.org/938/COVID-19

State COVID-19 hotline: CO-Help is a toll-free hotline that has been set up to provide information about COVID-19 and answer your questions. If you have questions about COVID-19 you are asked to call 1-877-462-2911.

Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) updates their website weekly: Colorado.gov/cdphe/2019-novel-coronavirus

CDPHE Facebook (facebook.com/CDPHE) and Twitter (@CDPHE)