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Eagle County sees increase in COVID-19 cases among teenagers

Most of the 11 young people who were infected caught the virus from private social gatherings, according to health officials.

EAGLE COUNTY, Colo. — Health officials in Eagle County are urging people to remain vigilant about preventing the spread of COVID-19 after they found a cluster of new cases among teenagers in the high-country county.

In the last five days, Eagle County Public Health and Environment (ECPHE) has reported 26 new confirmed cases of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Of those, 11 were among people between the ages of 16 and 18 in the Roaring Fork Valley. This is a marked increase in COVID-19 cases among younger age groups, according to health officials.

Many of those people were infected after attending "private social gatherings," health officials said. 

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Some of the infected people have been unwilling to isolate at home and to share details about places they may have come into contact with others, disease investigators said in a release.

"We need people to understand there is no shame in contracting a highly infectious disease - that is the nature of a pandemic," said Kris Widlak, the director of communications for the Eagle County health department. "What's important is what we do next to help avoid the spread. This is a community response, not just a public health one."

Health officials said getting information about events and places where other people may have been exposed is critically important to help slow the spread of the disease.

Public health officials recommend:

  • Any person confirmed to have COVID-19 should isolate at home for 10 days from the time the symptoms began.
  • All close contacts of a known COVID-19 case should self-quarantine at home for 14 days from the last date of exposure. Close contacts are persons that live in the same household, intimate partners and anyone that has spent more than 15 minutes closer than 6 feet with a confirmed case.
  • Close contacts of known cases are significantly at higher risk of becoming infected than people that had limited contact with a case. Quarantine helps prevent the spread of COVID-19 that can occur before a person develops symptoms or if they are infected with the virus and are asymptomatic.
  • Close contacts that are symptomatic should contact their medical provider and seek testing immediately.
  • Close contacts that are asymptomatic should wait 5-7 days from the last date of exposure to seek testing. Testing right after exposure may be too early in the incubation period to detect the virus.

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Due to the new cases, ECPHE has elevated its performance indicator for new cases from comfortable to cautious.

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