Larimer County Public Health Director Tom Gonzales answers questions on response to coronavirus. Note: This interview was held on March 18. Fort Collins Coloradoan
All Larimer County residents have been ordered to stay at home from 5 p.m. Thursday, March 26, through Friday, April 17, in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
County health officials announced the order Wednesday afternoon, saying that while community transmission of the virus has been slowed by restrictions on group gatherings, they believe further action is needed. Moments after the county’s announcement, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis announced a statewide stay-at-home order through April 11.
The county health department listed 45 confirmed COVID-19 cases on Wednesday. Across the state, there were 1,086 confirmed cases and 19 deaths — including one in Larimer County, according to Wednesday’s report by the Colorado Department of Health and Environment.
The Larimer County order directs residents to only leave home for food and essential services.
“We are certain that the sooner we take these dramatic measures, the sooner we will be able to resume normal activity,” county Public Health Director Tom Gonzales said in a written statement. “But we need all residents of Larimer County to come together and do this for the sake of their friends, family and the community as a whole.”
Residents can still leave home to shop for groceries and pet supplies, visit pharmacies and doctors, and get take-home meals and drinks. People can also enjoy outdoor activities while keeping safe social distancing of at least 6 feet from others.
Bringing supplies to at-risk family members and neighbors is also allowed to help reduce their exposure.
Various “essential” activities and businesses are exempt from the order, including health care operations, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, banks and child care facilities, among others.
The order requires nonessential businesses to close. Many of these, such as hair and nail salons and gyms, had already been ordered to close by Colorado Gov. Jared Polis.
Minutes after the order was passed, Larimer County’s website crashed, likely due to a large volume of traffic. Once the website is restored, residents can learn more about the order and exemptions at larimer.org/health/stay-at-home-order. A copy of the order is also embedded in this article.
This is a developing story. Return to Coloradoan.com for more.
Stop the spread
COVID-19 is spread like the flu. You can help slow the spread of viruses by:
- Increasing distance between people to six feet to help reduce spread
- Washing hands frequently with soap and water
- Covering coughs and sneezes
- Staying home when sick, and avoiding close contact with anyone who has cold or flu-like symptoms.
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