SAGUACHE — During the Saguache County Commissioners regular meeting May 5, Saguache Public Health Director Lynette Grant gave the following report on the status of the county’s response to the COVID-19 virus crisis. The report is taken by draft meeting minutes recorded by Saguache County Clerk’s office staffer Dominique White.
Grant stated they have received a letter from the Colorado Health Foundation stating they are giving the county $37,500 to be used for COVID-19 Response. She noted there were no new cases in the county as of May 1, but Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE) statistics show reported cases in the county have increased from three to five as of May 12.
Saguache County is following county orders and helping businesses with their soft reopening. Grant is working with Mountain Valley Schools for their graduation ceremony May 16. All other schools in the county are holding off for now.
Grant has concerns about the county’s consideration of requesting a variance from Gov. Jared Polis on the Safer at Home guidelines. She can only handle possibly two positives at one time; Grant doesn’t want to commit to something she can’t handle. Commissioner Tim Lovato stated he would like to see some kind of variance to get some of the businesses opened up.
Commissioner Jason Anderson stated he is concerned for the county’s businesses. People are adapting and private businesses are finding ways to put in safeguards. That kind of adaption can be used to help us keep businesses afloat.
Sand Dunes Recreation owner Donnie Bautista stated that he can feel the pain in everyone’s voice, it is a ridiculously trying time and it’s hard to make decisions. “COVID is never going away, but there has to be an opportunity where we can operate safely,” he said. “Look at the small businesses that are the heart of this valley, you have entrusted us to put our best food forward to benefit our customers and staff.
“Give us a chance to show you we can operate safely,” Bautista continued. “This business has been there for 25 years and I have about one month left and 60 employees that have been laid off, I’m getting scared as a business owner of losing everything I have.”
Crestone Eagle reporter Sandia Belgrave stated the problem is people are still not wearing masks and that is going to spread the virus. Commissioner Jason Anderson commented that if the county were to seek some kind of variance, public health has to be on board 100 percent. Grant stated she will consider a variance; she would like to revisit it in two weeks. The board agreed to schedule a work session to talk about it.
Commissioner Jason Anderson reported that he attended a Zoom meeting (the weekly DOLA check-in meeting with the state epidemiologist) who seems to feel the State must be very cautious about re-opening. The concern is that reported case numbers will bounce back up. During the meeting they also spoke about the chances of there being a spike in case numbers again in the fall.