By Jamie Leary

GRAND COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– Winter Park Ski Resort is looking to the state for guidance following a COVID-19 outbreak involving 109 positive cases. Many of those exposed are now in quarantine.

(credit: CBS)

“This has been incredibly challenging, not just for us, for our employees, our community our guests, it’s been challenging,” said Jen Miller, director of communications for Winter Park Resort.

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The resort put safety plans in place ahead of opening in December, as recommended by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. It even went a step further and closed all indoor spaces, outside of emergency needs. Winter Park even made a plan for employee housing.

“We shifted housing around and worked with community partners to open up other housing to keep people spread out,” said Miller.

Still, in a small community with already limited options for employee housing, people end up in communal living, the source of the latest and past outbreaks at the resort.

(credit: CBS)

“Through contact tracing that the resort has contributed to and participated in with the county, we’re a small county so our resources are limited, we found that most of those happened outside of the workplace or in congregate housing with roommates and multiple people living together,” said Miller. “We cannot manage people outside of the workplace. It becomes a personal responsibility issue.”

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The outbreak, according to the state’s data dashboard, was detected on Jan. 23. Many community members as well as employees expressed frustration the outbreak was only made public Monday, but the resort says due to limited resources, tracing and confirming the extent took time.

“We aren’t trying to cover anything up,” said Miller.

The outbreak declaration to the state will allow the resort and county to pull in more resources to help control the spread. The CDPHE says it will monitor the outbreak for the next several weeks to make sure no more positive cases are detected.

So far, the CDPHE says transmission among resort patrons has been low.

(credit: CBS)

Since Nov. 11, 2020, there have been around four cases detected among ski resort guests. None of the cases have been associated with Winter Park.

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“It’s really more among the internal things that we’re doing, and so we’re continuing to work with the state and the county, they don’t want to see this either.”

Jamie Leary