Frequently Asked Questions

About Safer-at-Home

We are aware that the public has many questions related to Governor Polis’ Safer At Home Executive Order and the associated CDPHE Safer At Home Public Health Order. Thankfully, the State has created a webpage to address many of those questions. Visit the Safer At Home FAQ page.

What is Safer at Home? 

Are you safer at home? Coloradans are no longer ordered to stay home but are strongly advised to stay at home. Critical businesses are open and limited non-critical businesses are operating with strict precautions in place.

How is this different from the Stay-at-Home Order?

Under the Safer at Home order there is more flexibility for businesses to open if they are following Social Distancing Requirements. There also is more flexibility for consumers -- except for seniors and other vulnerable populations to get goods and services they desire, and for employers to begin bringing employees back to the workplace as long as they follow social distancing guidelines and wear a cloth face covering.

What does this mean for Coloradans?

  • Coloradans should stay home as much as possible, leaving only for a limited number of specific activities.
  • When you go out, you must follow physical distancing requirements (6 feet of space between yourself and others) and wear a mask or face covering.
  • Vulnerable people at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 should follow Stay-at-Home recommendations, which means only leaving home for medical care and essential activities.
  • People who have COVID-19 symptoms must isolate unless they have a negative test result. As the state works to build up testing capacity, self-isolating when you are ill is the best course of action. Please read how to isolate, which includes symptoms.
  • Only essential travel in- or out-of-state is permitted.
  • Sick people must not go to work.

Should I wear a mask?

Colorado is asking everyone to wear a non-medical cloth face covering while out in public for necessary activities like grocery shopping, going to work or walking your dog. Please make or buy a cloth covering that will cover your mouth and nose and use it whenever you are outside your own house or yard. Scarves and bandanas will work as coverings. Wash your face covering regularly.

All workers should wear medical or non-medical face coverings that cover the mouth and nose while at work, except where doing so would inhibit health, and wear gloves (if gloves are provided by an employer) when in contact with customers or goods.

What are “essential activities”?

Activities, tasks, and errands you must do to keep yourself, your family, and your household members safe and healthy. Essential activities include:

  • Getting essential medical care, medical supplies and equipment, and medicine.
  • Getting food and supplies for yourself, your family, your pets, and your household members. That means the supplies you need to live a healthy life, keep a safe and healthy home, and get supplies you need to work or learn at home.
  • Caring for a family member, vulnerable person, or animals that are in a different location than your home.
  • Walking your dog or feeding animals.
  • Outdoor activities such as walking, hiking, cross-country skiing, running, etc. Group sizes are limited to 10 and groups must follow Social Distancing Requirements. Travel for recreation is limited to 10 miles.
  • Going to work.

What are the “Social Distancing” or “Physical Distancing” Requirements?

  • Keeping 6 feet of physical distance between all people at all times. The 6-foot rule does not apply to people who live in the same house as you -- in other words, your roommates, and family. But if you, your family, or your roommates get sick, you or they must isolate.
  • Washing hands as often as you can. Wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Covering coughs and sneezes. Use a tissue, then throw the tissue away. Use your sleeve or inner elbow if a tissue is not available.
  • Regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces.
  • Not shaking hands.
  • Wear a mask or face covering.

Can Coloradans hold public or private gatherings under this level?

While the Safer-at-Home level is in effect, gatherings in both public and private spaces of more than 10 people are prohibited. We advise continuing to only socialize with members of your household. Any gatherings of 10 or fewer people outside your household should adhere to all Social Distancing requirements and recommendations.

Travel and Transportation

What is Essential Travel?

Travel from your home to places you need to go to do necessary tasks, errands and activities, get food or necessary equipment and supplies, transport kids for a shared parenting arrangement or child care, or go to work when required to be in the workplace.  Limit activities to your immediate community, no more than 10 miles from your home. If you aren’t absolutely sure you need or are required by your work to do it, you probably don’t need to do it. 

Can I travel to other places in Colorado, like the mountains or resort areas?

We are asking Coloradans to follow the orders and not try to find loopholes. As the governor has said time and again, we are in a pandemic, not on a vacation. Traveling more than 10 miles from your home for recreation can stress hospitals in smaller communities. Both the Executive Order and Public Health Order have flexibility around the 10-mile recommendation as it may not be practical in every part of the state (e.g. less populated areas where residents need to travel further for critical retail and critical services). Please do not take a “Colorado vacation” or go to your second home. Limit activities to your immediate community and do not travel to mountain areas or the Western Slope. This is to prevent disease spread and keep our rural communities healthy.

Are short-term rentals allowed?

Short-term rentals can’t open under the new Executive Order. They can be rented out to the state or local government entities as part of the public health response, but they cannot be rented or used by the public for any amount of time shorter than 30-days. This includes any type of short-term lodging such as allowing extended family or friends to stay at your property.

General COVID-19 Questions 

What should I do if I feel ill?

If you are experiencing mild symptoms of illness (fever, cough, shortness of breath), call your primary care physician for an initial health screening over the phone. If the physician believes you need to be tested, they will provide instructions on where to go to receive the proper care. 

If you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as severe shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, call 9-1-1 or go to the emergency room. 

I think I was in contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19.  Now What?

Grand County Public Health (GCPH) completes contact tracing for every positive case in the county.  Contact tracing is the process by which Grand County Public Health finds high-risk contacts and those individuals in very close, prolonged contact with the infected patient. There is a time frame of exposure risk that is investigated for each positive case. Once identified as close contact, individuals are notified about the possibility of COVID-19 exposure and provided guidance.  If you are not notified during the Contact Tracing process, it means that you were not identified by GCPH as someone in close contact, during the time frame of risk, with the individual who tested positive.

Grand County Public Health uses the following criteria to determine contact risk exposure during contact tracing.  Normally, only individuals identified as Medium and High Rigk are contacted during the contact tracing process.  

High Risk: 1) Individuals living in the same household as, 2) being an intimate partner of, or 3) providing care in a non-healthcare setting (such as a home) for a person with symptomatic laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infection without using recommended precautions for home care and home isolation

Medium Risk (assumes no exposures in the high-risk category): 1) Individuals who have close contact with a person with symptomatic laboratory-confirmed COVID-19, or 2) Individuals on aircraft who are seated within 6 feet (2 seats in each direction) of a traveler with symptomatic laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infection, or 3) Individuals living in the same household as, an intimate partner of, or caring for a person in a non-healthcare setting (such as a home) to a person with symptomatic laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infection while consistently using recommended precautions for home care and home isolation

Low Risk (assumes no exposures in the high-risk category): 1) Individuals having been in the same indoor environment (e.g., a classroom, a hospital waiting room) as a person with symptomatic laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time but not meeting the definition of close contact.

No Identifiable Risk: Individuals having interactions with a person with symptomatic laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infection that do not meet any of the high-, medium- or low-risk conditions above, such as walking by the infected person or being briefly in the same room.

What is an antibody test?

Antibody tests, antibody blood tests, and serologic tests refer to the same thing. It is a test to check your blood to look for antibodies, which are proteins that help fight off infections. Antibody tests can show if you had a previous infection with a virus.

Do you recommend antibody testing? Why not?

  • According to the CDC, the test may not find antibodies in someone with a current COVID-19 infection. It depends on when someone was infected and the timing of the test.
  • Antibody tests cannot be used as the only way to diagnose someone as currently being sick with COVID-19.
  • We don’t yet know if a positive antibody test means you are immune to COVID-19.
  • Antibody tests may react with other seasonal viruses and result in false-positive results.

Why do the numbers change/differ from my local health department?

Information on this dashboard may change as new or different information is discovered through case investigations performed at the local level. Labs, hospitals, and state and local public health agencies enter initial data into CEDRS. Then, local health agency epidemiologists investigate the cases to gather more information. As they gather more information about a case, they update the data reported to their local public health agencies and to the state via CEDRS. Therefore, numbers and information provided by local agencies may be more up-to-date than this statewide dashboard.

How is it determined which county a case belongs in?

  • Cases and deaths are attributed to the county of residence of each individual.
  • People who test positive for COVID-19 in Colorado while visiting are included in the county where they were identified.

What’s the difference between confirmed and probable cases?

The total number of cases includes both confirmed and probable cases.  

  • Cases are considered confirmed when there has been a positive molecular amplification test (such as PCR) performed by a lab. These tests commonly involve taking a nasal swab which is then sent to specific laboratories for results. 
  • A molecular amplification test detects genetic material from the virus indicating the presence of the virus.
  • Cases are considered probable when they meet one of the following criteria: 
    • A person exhibited symptoms AND had close contact with someone who tested positive 
      • OR
    • A person exhibited symptoms AND tested positive using an antigen or serologic test. 
      • An antigen or serologic test is a blood test that looks for antibodies in your blood. This test can detect the body’s immune response to the infection caused by the virus rather than detecting the virus itself. 
      • OR
    • A person has an epidemiologic link* AND has tested positive using an antigen or serologic test
      • *An epidemiologically-link is close contact with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19 disease OR travel to or residence in an area with sustained, ongoing community transmission OR a member of a risk cohort as defined by public health authorities during an outbreak.
      • OR
  • A death certificate 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.

COVID-19 Resources

What community resources are available? 

If you are wondering where to find resources to supplement lost income because of COVID-19, you can find them on the “Healthy Grand County” website. Healthy Grand County is the result of a community-wide strategic plan for Mental Health; Maternal, Infant and Child Health (MICH); and Health Information and Awareness. The need for greater awareness of existing services in Grand County and the ability for residents and providers to easily find those services is a top priority.

What type of healthcare is being provided?

Primary healthcare providers throughout the county are offering different options for services. All of Middle Park Health’s campuses, Denver Health in Winter Park, Fraser Medical Clinic, and Byers Peak Family Medicine are offering telemedicine options and in-person care. Please call prior to visiting any provider, as services and operational hours vary. Let your primary care provider know if you are concerned about payment. They can connect you with resources such as A.C.H.E.S. & P.A.I.N.S. vouchers from the Grand County Rural Health Network for our low-income and uninsured residents. For Coloradans who lose their jobs and their health insurance, coverage through the Connect for Health Colorado website is available: www.connectforhealthco.com

What mental health and anxiety resources are available to the Grand County community?

If you are stressed, anxious, lonely, depressed, angry, or all of the above, you are not alone. We are in this together, and caring mental health professionals are available if you need to talk. Just call 877-519-7505. MindSpringsHealth.org/COVID and Facebook.com/MindSpringsHealth offer self-guided meditations, soothing self-care exercises, and coping and resiliency skills, with new resources added every day. All Mind Springs Health offices are open for business virtually, providing services by video or over the phone. Call 970-887-2179 to learn more or to make an appointment. You can also call Colorado Crisis Services for free, confidential, professional, 24/7 support (1-844-493-8255; Text “TALK” to 38255).