By Spencer Wilson

EAGLE COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – The Eagle County Board of Health reinstated a county-wide indoor mask mandate on Wednesday. The order covers all indoor activities, regardless of vaccination status.

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In an emergency session, the Board made the decision in response to spiking COVID-19 case counts in the county. Counts had been hovering around 100 cases per 100,000 people, but as of Wednesday, had spiked to over 1,000 cases per 100,000 people.

That number is the highest recorded since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Board says that due to the spike, the medical infrastructure in Eagle County is at serious risk of not being able to accommodate seeking medical care for COVID or other needs. Testing capacity is also strained in the county. Testing appointments are nearing a two-week wait time for some providers, with processing times doubling. The order will remain in effect until case counts drop below 500 per 100,000 people.

“Yeah, we went from relatively calm to the tip of the COVID sphere overnight,” Matt Scherr, Eagle County Commissioner said. Scherr told CBS4 Mountain Newsroom reporter Spencer Wilson the decision to put the mask mandate back in was a simple one.

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“It becomes easier at this point because, you know, no matter what you do, you’re going to upset a number of your constituents,” Scherr said with a laugh. “So it makes doing the right thing really easy to do.”

Scherr said he was confident the mandate would help slow the spread of the virus, but he was not sure by how much.

“The aim is to slow it down enough to not overwhelm the hospitals,” Scherr explained.

Still, the county is watching what they believe to be the Omicron variant blast through their mountain town population in record speed. Free COVID-19 testing sites are now sitting at the base of Vail resort for easy access. Many in ski garb lined up Thursday to check themselves for the virus.

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Scherr said that besides this mandate, they’re not talking about possibilities aside from doing everything they can to not shut down businesses.

Spencer Wilson