By Jamie Leary

GRAND COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Following an outbreak traced to 109 employees at Winter Park Resort two weeks ago, cases have begun to decline in Grand County. It still has one of the highest rates of transmission in the state.

“We were told that we were the second highest in case rates in Colorado, which is alarming for a county our size,” said Alexis Kimbrough, deputy director of emergency services for Grand County. “So we targeted those areas of higher transmission for red restrictions, rather than putting our entire county in red restrictions,” she said.

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The areas targeted for level red restrictions were Winter Park Resort, along with two taverns in Grand County.

“Through the [Winter Park Resort} investigation, it was determined that about 11 patrons and one employee from the businesses that were targeted were associated with the outbreak,” said Kimbrough.

On Sunday, the county tested 200 employees at the resort with only one test coming back positive for COVID-19. The county’s one-week cumulative incident rate is sitting at 426, down by half compared to numbers two weeks prior.

“In the past four days, we found ourselves in orange level case rates which is amazing. We haven’t seen our county in a four day trend, so we were able to lift those restrictions last night [Sunday],” said Kimbrough.

Some community members have been vocal about the lack outbreak data available from the county. Until recently, there wasn’t much publicly available.

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“It took three weeks for Winter Park Resort and Grand County Public Health to actually announce the outbreak,” said Jane Mather, a long-time Grand County resident.

Mather believes if more specific data was made public like it is in other counties, it would help the community stay vigilant.

“My fear is that our numbers are going to improve, we’re going to get complacent and then it’s going to get risky again,” she said.

The county said Winter Park Resort wasn’t obligated to report the outbreak and previously cited HIPPA as a reason for not releasing other related data.

“In order to make sure that we are HIPPA compliant, we felt that it was safer to not release it, but now after the amount of cases that we’ve had we feel that being able to release it is a possibility without revealing the identity of those individuals,” said Kimbrough.

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Mather said the new data is helpful, and she’s hoping for continued transparency as outbreaks occur.

If the case counts continue on the current downward trend, Grand County could be looking at a move to level yellow by spring break.

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“We don’t foresee any instances that would make our cases rise until that spring break time, but if we can keep ourselves in the orange and then push toward that yellow, then hopefully by spring break we’ll be in a position where if there is a surge that we can handle it without debilitating our county,” said Kimbrough.

Jamie Leary