JCPH Urges Residents to Continue to Take Steps to Prevent COVID-19 Local cases begin to decline, but the virus is still present
Jefferson County, Colo. — As cases of COVID-19 begin to decline in Jefferson County, Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) reminds residents we must all continue to take important steps to sustain this momentum. This is especially important as our businesses and communities continue to reopen, people begin more local travel and summer activities and as we’ve seen large gatherings during the past few weeks.
As of June 15, there have been 2,476 total cases of COVID-19 in Jefferson County. Since our highest totals in March and April, we are seeing the number of new cases slowly drop week by week.
“We are encouraged and relieved to see a decline in cases, but the reality is that our world has changed from how it was just a few months ago before the pandemic began. It’s important to realize that for the time-being things are going to continue to look different than they did,” said Mark B. Johnson, MD, MPH, Executive Director, Jefferson County Public Health. “While things are heading in the right direction, COVID-19 is still a threat and is still widespread in our community. We are certainly not out of the woods yet, and I can’t stress enough that we can’t let our guard down just yet — lives depend on it.”
As we transition to less restrictive public health policies, there are some simple ways everyone can do their part to help keep our community healthy and safe:
Place – Be mindful about where you spend time away from home. It is safer to be around others while you are outdoors, where there is greater air exchange, rather than indoors. If you must be indoors, large rooms are safer than small ones. Physical distancing, or the ability to stay 6 feet away from others, is the key.
Pace – Think about how often you are coming in contact with others outside of your home. Less time together is better — this includes the number of interactions and the length of time together. Try to continue swapping some of your in-person interactions for virtual gatherings as much as you can.
Count – If you need to gather in person, keep it small. Generally, the fewer people, the lower the risk.
Cover – Because COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets, one easy way to help lower the chances of spreading the virus is to wear a face covering when out in public.
Test – If you have symptoms of COVID-19, get tested and isolate yourself until you get your results. If the test is positive, continue to self-isolate and take care of your health at home. Always consult a health care professional for advice on your care. (Here is a list of free testing sites in Jeffco).
Trace – Public health uses a process called exposure notification, or contact tracing, to identify and notify people who have been exposed to others who were diagnosed with COVID-19. If you were diagnosed with COVID-19, an employee from JCPH will call you to check-in on your health, discuss who you’ve been in contact with and ask you to stay at home to self-isolate. If you were in close contact with a person with the virus, you’ll get a call from JCPH and be asked to self-quarantine and monitor your symptoms. Answer the call and help provide important details to the public health worker on the phone to help slow the spread.
Clean – We know that the virus can live on surfaces, and can get into your body through your eyes, nose and mouth. Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces, and make sure you are practicing good hygiene (e.g., wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water, cover your coughs and sneezes, etc.).
“We’re slowly beginning to regain some of the things we lost during the height of this ongoing pandemic: the ability to share a meal with a family member at a restaurant, the joy of seeing a friend’s face in person and the feeling of calm that comes with more routine,” Johnson said. “These are important pieces of who we are, and as we begin to reincorporate them, we also must do what we can to keep the virus under control, so we can continue to move forward. Together, we can slow the spread and ultimately, overcome COVID-19.”
The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment has also released a new guide to help people understand and weigh the risks and benefits of everyday activities. Access the guide here.
To learn more about COVID-19, including current case data, testing information, guidance on the Jefferson County variance and more, visit www.jeffco.us/coronavirus.
About Jefferson County Public Health Public health is what we as a society do collectively to prevent illness and premature death and promote health in our neighborhoods and communities. Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) is a nationally accredited health department committed to promoting and protecting health across the lifespan for all people through prevention, education and partnerships. To learn more about JCPH visit www.jeffco.us/public-health. You can also follow JCPH on Twitter @JeffcoPH, Instagram @JeffcoPH and Facebook @jeffcopublichealth.