More than 100 employees of a popular ski resort in Colorado have tested positive for COVID-19 after they contracted the illness by holding social gatherings outside of the work place – though the actual number of infection is thought to be far higher.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has reported 109 cases of the coronavirus at the Winter Park Resort in Grand County.
The outbreak was first declared on January 23 and accounts for more than 6 per cent of the 1,700 employees at the ski resort.
Grand County Health did not report the positive cases to the state until this week, the Post reported.
Grand County Health and the Winter Park Resort issued a joint statement that said the cases have not been traced to interactions with visitors.
The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested. Studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has reported 109 cases of the coronavirus at the Winter Park Resort in Grand County. A skier and snowboarder head down Upper Hughes run at the Winter Park Resort in this March 2017 file photo
A spokesperson for Winter Park Resort told DailyMail.com that the complex took necessary precautions to mitigate the spread of the virus before it reopened to the public on December 3.
Jen Miller said that the resort implemented rules requiring masks and social distancing throughout the complex.
In addition, the resort put in place ‘increased sanitation procedures’ and added staff to remind visitors about masking requirements, she said.
There is no indoor dining available at the resort as visitors are only permitted to do ‘grab-n-go’ food shopping, Miller said.
‘WPR has worked closely and been transparent with state and local public health authorities since the onset of the pandemic and in recent weeks to navigate these dynamic circumstances,’ Miller told DailyMail.com
‘WPR has an onsite testing site that they have managed since December and has consistently utilized GCPH testing sites as deemed necessary.
‘Throughout the past few months, WPR has implemented robust contact tracing among employees which has helped [Grand County Public Health], and a CDPHE contact tracing support team has been enlisted as needed during this outbreak.
‘WPR has also enlisted a CDPHE epidemiology/hygiene consult to further investigate changes that could be made that could suppress COVID activity among employees.’
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks.
For some – especially older adults and people with existing health problems – it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.
Other popular ski destinations in Colorado reported outbreaks, though far smaller in scope.
Breckenridge reported 12 active coronavirus outbreaks totaling 26 cases while Keystone has four outbreaks with 10 positive cases.
State public health officials define an outbreak as two or more cases of COVID-19 that were contracted at the same site.
An outbreak is considered resolved only after 28 days have passed without any new infections.
According to the latest data, there are 430 patients currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in Colorado as of Friday.
The most recent data from Colorado public health officials indicates that COVID-19 infection rates have fallen statewide
The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment also reported steep drops in the number of COVID-19 deaths
Public health data shows that most of the COVID-19 cases are concentrated in the Denver area
Denver and El Paso Counties have also reported the highest number of fatalities
State public health officials said that the moving average positivity rate has declined to 3.95 per cent.
The World Health Organization recommends that positivity rate be kept at or below 5 per cent in order to contain the virus.
As of Friday, nearly 609,000 Colorado residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
In addition, 271,104 have been inoculated with two doses.
The state is also reporting good news as hospitalization rates decline. The latest figures indicate that 430 people are currently in hospitals due to confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Another 40 patients are suspected of carrying the virus.
On Friday, the state reported 24 new hospital admissions – down from 61 the previous day.
The seven-day moving average of new hospitalizations fell to 59 this past week – down from 64 on Thursday.
Of all hospital beds available in the state, just 5 per cent are occupied by either confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19.
State officials are also reporting just 2 per cent of medical facilities that say they face ICU bed shortages in the next week.