SMC COVID Update; Colorado’s New COVID Exposure Notices

For up-to-date coronavirus information visit here. To learn more about exposure notifications, please visit here.

Public Health has confirmed two new positive cases of COVID-19 from test results received the 24th through the 27th of October. One 29-year-old male resident and one 55-year-old male resident are symptomatic and in isolation. There have been 100 total COVID cases to date with two active cases. Interested in learning more about the County’s current COVID-19 metrics? Visit the County COVID-19 dashboard.

This past Sunday, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) launched its statewide COVID-19 exposure notification system. You might have seen a notice on your Apple or Android phone with instructions surrounding how to opt-in.

“We must regain lost ground against this deadly virus, and we need every tool at our disposal to protect ourselves, our families, our communities, and our small businesses,” said Governor Jared Polis in a release on Sunday. “It’s important for Coloradans to enable CO Exposure Notifications on your iPhone or Android to help save lives, to contain this deadly disease, protect your loved ones, and to use every technological advantage we have against the virus.”

First and foremost, we want to assure you that your information remains completely confidential.
When exposure notifications are enabled, your smartphone exchanges anonymous tokens (example token: Y2RzQ0RT) with others’ phones in close proximity. These tokens are stored for 14 days, which is the time it might take for somebody with whom you’ve come into close contact to develop symptoms or test positive.

Your name, phone number, location and IP address are in no way associated with the tokens exchanged in the exposure notification program. Additionally, tokens are changed every 15 minutes to add an extra layer of security and anonymity. Should you be interested, the code for the service is open source. It is available to the public and can be reviewed to verify that it does not capture any personally identifying information.

“Awareness of COVID-19 and identification of potential exposures are key to stopping the spread,” said Public Health Director Grace Franklin. “Exposure notifications can be especially helpful in identifying asymptomatic people who can be nudged to get tested when informed of a potential exposure.”

A positive person can only upload their result from a qualified testing site and lab after it is verified by a public health authority. Checks are in place through exposure notifications to weed out disruption or false reports.

In order for exposure notifications to work effectively, a high participation rate must be achieved. Research indicates that even if 15% of Colorado residents enable notifications, the system can decrease the frequency of COVID-19 deaths by 11.8% and infections by 15%.

Please opt in to help keep your community, colleagues and family safe. If somebody you know tests positive and you do not receive a notification, it is possible that they did not enable their system, did not upload their results or did not spend a notable amount of time in close proximity with you.

Exposure notifications are yet another tool, along with our five commitments of containment, to be used in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19 leading up to the holidays and beyond. If you know that you were exposed to COVID, you should quarantine and monitor your symptoms very carefully for 14 days.

If you did not sign up on Sunday, you can find the service on your Apple phone by going to settings and typing “exposure notifications” into your search bar. On your Android device, you can enable the system by installing CO Exposure Notifications from the Google Play Store. There will be another notification prompting you to enable exposure notifications this coming Sunday, November 1.

San Miguel County will continue posting caseload updates twice a week. The next update will be published on Friday, October 30.

Five Commitments of Containment:

Wear a mask
Maintain six feet of physical distance
Minimize group size
Wash hands frequently
Stay home when sick and get tested

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