Virus Outbreak Colorado

A sign hangs on the window of a restaurant advertising the establishment is still open for pickups and deliveries during a statewide stay-at-home order in an effort to reduce the spread of the new coronavirus, Friday, March 27, 2020. 

Camping? Low risk. Vacationing in a hotel or motel? Low risk. Going to bars and nightclubs? Risky.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has released a guide describing the relative likelihood of COVID-19 infection for a range of social activities, both indoors and outdoors. No matter the activity, the department recommends maintaining six feet of distance, wearing a mask and frequently washing hands.

“People need to be informed, then use their judgement to make individual decisions about what works best for them, their household members and their communities,” said state epidemiologist Rachel Herlihy. “We really need everyone’s help to contain COVID-19 in Colorado. We all need to have fewer interactions with fewer people while maintaining social distancing.”

The guide deems outdoor recreation as low risk, as is momentarily passing by people outside. Staying in a hotel or motel is also lower risk, but people should assess their exposure potential while traveling there. Car trips with household members provide the lowest risk, CDPHE notes.

The danger of recreational sports varies, depending on the level of contact with other participants. Events increase in risk as the number of attendees increases. 

Swimming is designated a “medium” risk, with the department noting, “It’s not the water, it’s the other people” who provide the exposure. The highest risk activities are going to bars, singing in groups and attending protests or demonstrations. 

“It is important for people to be able to demonstrate peacefully and have their voices heard,” wrote the state. However, “masking can be inconsistent, and shouting and singing can spread the virus farther.”

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