Local COVID-19 Information

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

COSTILLA COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH AGENCY

EFFECTIVE MAY 17, 2020

SECOND AMENDED STANDING PUBLIC HEALTH ORDER ADHERING TO PUBLIC HEALTH ORDER 20-28: SAFER-AT-HOME

AND

PROHIBITING OVERNIGHT CAMPING AT FOUR RESERVOIRS

TO LIMIT AND CONTAIN THE SPREAD OF COVID-19 VIRUS

Pursuant to Colo. Rev. Stat. § 25-1-506, this Order in combination with CDPHE Public Health Order 20-28 sets forth guidance and requirements for, as well as limitations on, group gatherings to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.  This Order amends and supersedes the previous Standing Public Health Order issued by Costilla County regarding COVID-19.

The purpose of this local Public Health Order is to restrict overnight camping of any kind in areas of reservoirs, including Smith Reservoir, Mountain Home Reservoir, Sanchez Reservoir, and Stabilization Reservoir.

On May 8, 2020 CDPHE issued the SECOND AMENDED PUBLIC HEALTH ORDER 20-28 SAFER AT HOME pursuant to the Governor’s directive in Executive Order D 2020 044 Safer at Home. https://covid19.colorado.gov/safer-at-home

Gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited under Public Health order 20-28. Everyone should wear masks except children under age 3. Aim to keep at least 6’ away from each other. DO NOT share cups, plates, utensils, etc., and disinfect surfaces after gathering.  DO wash your hands frequently.

This Order is adopted pursuant to legal authority set forth in sections 25-1-506 and 25-1-508, Colorado Revised Statutes. Under these laws, the Costilla County Public Health Director has the duty to investigate and control the causes of epidemic or communicable diseases and conditions affecting public health, to establish, maintain, and enforce isolation and quarantine, to exercise physical control over property and over the people within the jurisdiction of the agency as necessary for the protection of the public health.

This Order is in effect until midnight Mountain Standard Time July 7, 2020, and is subject to continuing review by the Public Health Director.  

A violation of any Public Health Order shall be punishable by a fine, imprisonment or both as is permitted by C.R.S. 25-1-516.

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A MESSAGE TO SEASONAL HOMEOWNERS

As you begin to plan your seasonal stay in beautiful Costilla County, we would like for you to keep the following in mind during these tough times. While Costilla County is working to weather the coronavirus (COVID-19) health crisis, we are experiencing some of the complications of living in a rural area.

These complications include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Resources: Our local health care system, Costilla County EMS and Costilla County Sheriff are not equipped to handle cases of the coronavirus that could arrive with increased population.
  • Grocery stores: Please be aware grocery stores in the San Luis Valley, and especially Costilla County have limited quantities of stock and availability.
  • Healthcare: Valley Wide Health Services and SLV Health are extremely limited in their capacity to care for those affected by COVID-19. SLV Health hospitals have very limited testing resources. Hospital beds and ICU capabilities throughout the SLV are very limited. An influx of population will potentially put added pressure on nearby regional hospitals that will be taxed by other areas too.
  • Altitude: Costilla County's high altitude is not well suited for a respiratory illness such as COVID-19.
  • Quarantine: Costilla County is requesting you to self-quarantine in your home for 14 days upon returning to our County for the prevention of spread of coronavirus {COVID-19).
  • Colorado Governor Polis has also asked that we all wear a face covering or a mask when venturing out into the public (Stores, businesses, etc.)
  • Reminder - Long-Term Camping in a Recreational Vehicle is Restricted.  Use of a recreational vehicle or other camping shelter for longer than a total of 14 days during any consecutive three months on the same parcel shall require an RV Occupancy Permit, which requires RV hook-up to septic and active construction on a home.  The permit may be obtained from the Planning Department.

Lastly, and due to the current COVID-19 circumstances, Costilla County Public Health Agency strongly advises delaying your summer-time plans to June 1, 2020. We value you! We can't wait to see you again! We are simply asking you to wait until we begin to reverse the aggressive trend of this global pandemic.

For the most recent information on the Standing Public Health Order for Costilla County, which among other items, restricts access to 4 reservoirs in the county and prohibits gatherings of more than 10 people, please see www .slvemergency.org/ slv-co vid-19.

Vivian Gallegos, Director

Costilla County Public Health Agency

 

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A Message to Costilla County Residents about Reservoir Closures

April 10, 2020: This week county officials have seen groups of people and vehicles congregating at the reservoirs and not observing the social distancing orders of the public health department, not observing the Governor’s stay at home order and violating the Governor’s camping ban. Many of these people are coming from outside Costilla County. There have been people here from as far away as Denver and Breckenridge. They are clearly in violation of the stay-at-home orders.

Costilla County is very remote and local residents are observing stay-at-home orders, but when people come here for recreation, they are not adhering to the stay at home order, they are not wearing face coverings and they are not following social distancing orders.  When people ignore these orders, it creates ideal conditions for the virus to spread.  Costilla County has taken these temporary emergency measures to limit and contain the spread of COVID-19 virus in our community. 

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BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS

COSTILLA COUNTY

RESOLUTION NO.  2020-05

A RESOLUTION CONCERNING THE EMERGENCY CLOSURE OF PORTIONS OF CERTAIN COUNTY ROADS TO LIMIT THE SPREAD OF THE COVID-19 VIRUS

            WHEREAS, the Board of County Commissioners declared a local disaster emergency due to a public health pandemic arising from the spread of the COVID-19 virus on March 17, 2020, and as a consequence of said declaration, the County Public Health Director has issued Public Health Orders intended to protect the residents of the County from the spread of that contagion; and,

            WHEREAS, County Commissioner Lawrence Pacheco has observed a large number of sports fishermen congregating at public reservoirs within the county in a manner which violates the “stay-at-home” orders issued by Governor Jared Polis and violates “social distancing” standards in the County Public Health Orders; and,

            WHEREAS, the Board has determined that it is necessary, in order to protect the health, safety and welfare of the residents of Costilla County to prohibit access to said reservoirs, by declaring a temporary closure of portions of county and/or public roads to said reservoirs. 

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that until further action is taken by this Board, access to the following bodies of water is prohibited,

to-wit:

Mountain Home Reservoir

Smith Reservoir

Sanchez Reservoir

Stabilization Reservoir

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the following portions of County Roads that access the above-mentioned reservoirs are hereby ordered CLOSED until further action is taken by this Board,

    to-wit:

Ice House Road

County Lane 6

County Road 12

County Road 21

County Road P

           BE IT FURTHER RESOVED that any local Public Health Order prohibiting access, camping and/or fishing at those reservoirs shall be posted at the public entry or road access to the above-listed bodies of water.

            BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a violation of any Public Health Order shall be punishable by a fine, imprisonment or both as is permitted by C.R.S. 25-1-516.

THE FOREGOING RESOLUTION was adopted this 7th day of April, 2020 by the unanimous vote of the Board of County Commissioners.

 

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FIRST AMENDED STANDING PUBLIC HEALTH ORDER PROHIBITING OR IMPOSING ADDITIONAL RESTRICTIONS OF CERTAIN EVENTS AND GATHERINGS TO LIMIT AND CONTAIN THE SPREAD OF COVID-19 VIRUS

Pursuant to Colo. Rev. Stat. § 25-1-506 and other applicable authority, this Order sets forth guidance and requirements for, as well as limitations on, group gatherings to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The purpose of this amendment is to amend the existing Order, to further restrict the gathering of person(s) in areas of reservoirs, including Smith Reservoir, Mountain Home Reservoir, Sanchez Reservoir, and Stabilization Reservoir and associated camping areas. This Order amends and supersedes the previous Standing Public Health Order issued by Costilla County regarding COVID-19. The Order compliments the Costilla County Board of Commissioners Resolution 2020-5, which closes portions of county roads that access the above-mentioned reservoirs.

On March 5, 2020, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s (CDPHE) public health laboratory confirmed the first presumptive positive COVID-19 test result in Colorado. Since then, the number of confirmed cases has continued to climb, and there is evidence of community spread throughout the State.

On March 10, 2020, the Governor of Colorado declared a state of Emergency related to the presence of COVID-19 in the State. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has confirmed that COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the State of Colorado,

On March 13, 2020, the President of the United States declared a National Emergency due to COVID-19.

On March 15, 2020, the Centers of disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a guidance to cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States for 8 weeks. On March 16, 2020, the President of the United States issued a statement including recommendations to avoid gatherings of 10 or more people.

On March 16, 2020, the Governor of Colorado announced the closing of all bars and restaurants except for takeout and delivery services. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment issued a public health order to close bars, restaurants, gyms, theaters, and casinos to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, effective at 8:00 a.m. on March 17 for the duration of 30 days.

On March 17, 2020 Costilla County Costilla County issued a Disaster Declaration. Costilla County Public Health Director issued a Standing Public Health Order Related to Events and Gatherings to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

On March 25, 2020 the Governor of Colorado issued Executive Order D 2020 017, “ordering Coloradans to Stay at Home Due to the Presence of COVID-19 in the State.”

On March 26, 2020, CDPHE issued Updated Public Health Order 20-24 Implementing Stay at Home Requirements. 

On April 5, 2020 Governor of Colorado issued Executive Order amending and extending Executive Order D 2020 017 ordering Coloradans to stay at home (until April 26, 2020) due to the presence of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the State.

The age, condition, and health of a significant portion of the population in Costilla County places it at risk of serious health complications, including death, from COVID- 19. Although most individuals who contract COVID-19 do not become seriously ill, persons with mild symptoms and asymptomatic persons with COVID-19 may place other vulnerable members of the public at significant risk. A large surge in the number of persons with serious infections can compromise the ability of the healthcare system, particularly in the high-country counties currently affected by community transmission, to deliver necessary healthcare to the public.

The limitations on large gatherings and use of social distancing decreases the risk of COVID-19 transmission to our most vulnerable populations, and is especially important for people who are over 60 years old and those with chronic health conditions due to their higher risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19. This Order will reduce the likelihood that many individuals will be exposed to COVID-19 at a single event, and will therefore slow the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.

This Order is adopted pursuant to the legal authority set forth in sections 25-1-506 and 25-1-508, Colorado Revised Statutes. Under these laws, the Costilla County Public Health Director has the duty to investigate and control the causes of epidemic or communicable diseases and conditions affecting public health and to establish, maintain, and enforce isolation and quarantine, and in pursuance thereof, and for this purpose only, to exercise physical control over property and over the persons of the people within the jurisdiction of the agency as the agency may find necessary for the protection of the public health.

This Order shall apply to all unincorporated areas of Costilla County, Colorado and all incorporated (municipal) areas that do not have their own public health agency, to wit: Town of Blanca, and the Town of San Luis, Colorado.

All events must follow the requirements stated herein.

I. DEFINITIONS

For purposes of this Order:

An "Event" is a gathering for business, social, or recreational activities, or a location that engages in or allows for such activities; that takes place indoors or outdoors, including, but not limited to, community, civic, public, leisure, or sporting events; parades; commencement ceremonies; concerts; festivals; assemblies; places of worship; conventions; fundraisers; restaurants (regardless of capacity) community recreational centers; libraries; and similar locations and activities.

"Event" does not include activities that are primarily individual or occur in small groups or in non-congregate settings, such as places of employment as long as social distancing occurs particularly in areas where congregating in groups is unavoidable, such as grocery store lines. "Event" also does not include places of employment for federal, state, local and special district employees, employees of public utilities or utility service providers (e.g., electric utility providers, internet service providers, water and sewer service providers), grocery stores, hardware stores, gas stations, medical service providers (e.g. medical clinics, dental offices or discount department stores (e.g., Family Dollar).

Schools

At this point, we are not recommending closing schools, but we are watching the outbreak closely and may determine that school closures are necessary. Schools, parents and employers should take steps now to prepare for the possibility of prolonged mandatory closures.  In particular, schools should plan for how to continue to provide non-educational support for their students such as providing food, developmental disability support, and school-based healthcare.

II. ORDER

A.        All events of 10 people or more are prohibited.

B.        Events with fewer than 10 attendees are prohibited unless event organizers take the following steps to mitigate risks:

a.         Older adults (age 60 and older), including employees, and individuals with underlying medical conditions that are at increased risk of serious COVID-19, including employees are encouraged not to attend.

b.         Social distancing recommendations must be met. These include limiting contact of people within 6 feet from each other for 10 minutes or longer, and any other applicable guidance. See Section III, below.

c.         Individuals who are sick must stay home.

d.         Proper hand hygiene and sanitation must be readily available to all attendees and employees.

e.         Environmental cleaning guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are followed (e.g., clean and disinfect high touch surfaces daily or more frequently).

C.        Prohibits access, camping and/or fishing at Mountain Home Reservoir, Smith Reservoir, Sanchez Reservoir and Stabilization Reservoir.

III. FURTHER GUIDANCE

Further guidelines for social distance are available at: https://covid19.colorado.gov

On Friday, April 3, Governor Polis announced the Colorado Mask Campaign encouraging Coloradans to wear non-medical cloth face coverings when leaving the home for essential business.  Cloth face coverings can be worn to reduce the spread of large droplets.  They can help prevent “community spread” when people travel from their homes for necessary activities like grocery shopping.

IV. GENERAL INFORMATION FOR ALL PERSONS AFFECTED BY THIS ORDER

If you have questions regarding this Order, please contact the Costilla County Public Health Department at 719-672-3332.

Costilla County Public Health is tasked with protecting the health and welfare of the citizens of Costilla County, Colorado by investigating and controlling the causes of epidemic and communicable disease. This Order is necessary to control any potential transmission of disease to others. See section 25-1-508, Colorado Revised Statutes. Immediate issuance of this Order is necessary for the preservation of public health, safety, or welfare.

Any person aggrieved and affected by this Order has the right to request judicial review by filing an action with the Costilla County District Court within 90 days of the date of this Order, pursuant to section 25-1-515, Colorado Revised Statutes. However, you must continue to obey the terms of this Order while your request for review is pending.

This Order is in effect until Midnight Mountain Standard Time May 16, 2020, and is subject to continuing review by the Public Health Director consistent with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A violation of any Public Health Order shall be punishable by a fine, imprisonment or both as is permitted by C.R.S. 25-1-516.

 

 

Gov. Polis Addresses Coloradans, Extends Stay-at-Home Order

 

April 6 - DENVER This evening Governor Jared Polis addressed Coloradans directly and announced an extension to the stay-at-home Executive Order. The Executive Order will now remain in effect until April 26. 

 

“We are beginning to see the impact of the actions we have taken so far, but I can’t stress enough the importance of staying home during these next few weeks,” said Governor Jared Polis. “We have to keep this up for a little while longer in order to return to a level of normalcy in our economy and our society. Right now we need to dig deep into our souls to muster the resolve, the courage, the fortitude to carry on and do our patriotic duty as generations have done before.”

 

Colorado is beginning to see the impacts of the social distancing measures that have been implemented in recent weeks. The state has seen a 60% reduction in traffic on Colorado roads since the beginning of March and is beginning to see the effects of the stay at home Executive Order.  When this virus began, the number of cases was doubling every 1.5 days, now it’s doubling every six days, meaning the spread of the virus is beginning to slow.  

 

New Public Health Recommendation: Cover Your Face

 

April 3, 2020 - The Costilla County Public Health Agency is recommending covering one’s nose and mouth when leaving the home for essential travel to the grocery store, doctor, or pharmacy. Safely cover your face with a bandana or homemade, cotton face covering, reserving hospital grade masks for health care workers and those who are sick.

Studies indicate there is no reason to not use a face covering as a precaution and wearing something over your nose and mouth can provide an additional layer of protection for those who must go out. Many aren’t aware they are spreading COVID-19 as they carry it without having symptoms, or their symptoms are mild.

The spread of the virus occurs primarily through droplets from an infected individual, which fabrics can filter. A face covering helps lessen the risk for a healthy individual to breathe in droplets as well as lessens spread from one who may not realize they’re sick. When face coverings are combined with frequent hand washing, they help reduce the transmission of infections.

Wearing face coverings also serves as a strong message to others that these are not normal times, and that we all need to change our behaviors to stop a devastating pandemic. As more residents start wearing face coverings, this action may be regarded as an act of solidarity, showing that all residents are on board with the responsible steps needed to reduce the spread of the virus.

Face coverings are also a good way to remember not to touch your face. Wearing a face covering will deny you access to your face and make you conscious of how often you are tempted to touch your nose & mouth.

Costilla County Public Health continues to stress that staying at home and physical distancing (at least 6 feet away from another person) are the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

How to safely adhere a face covering

  • Tie long hair back.
  • Wash your hands well.
  • Secure the face covering over your nose and mouth.
  • DO NOT touch your face or the face covering. If you do, sanitize your hands thoroughly.
  • Leave the covering on until you can safely remove it.
  • Remove your face covering immediately if it’s become wet or if you feel you’ve been in contact with someone who is sick.

How to safely remove a face covering.

  • Wash your hands.
  • Grab the face covering by the area that goes over your ears.
  • Take the covering off, keeping the outside of it away from your face, and place directly in the washing machine or a site where you will appropriately sanitize.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

For the most up to date information, visit https://www.slvemergency.org/

 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

03/29/2020 1600:  Press release from Costilla County Public Health.  Please direct all media and public questions to the SLV Hotline - (719-480-8719). 

 

Costilla County – Costilla County Public Health has confirmed 2 additional positive cases of COVID-19 in Costilla County. These will be the county's 2nd and 3rd positive cases.  The Costilla County Public Health Agency continues to follow up with lab-confirmed positive cases and contacts.

As a reminder, when positive results are received, out of both respect for the individual and the national privacy laws, Public Health does not release information regarding the identity of those who receive positive test results. If you know someone who has received a positive test result, please be respectful of their privacy and do not share that information with others. 

Community transmission is occurring in Colorado.  In the San Luis Valley, due to limited testing, many individuals are being asked to self-quarantine or isolate without being tested.  A positive test is only one, very limited indicator of the virus in our community. Knowing who has or has not been tested does not change the need to continue to observe social distancing and the Governor’s stay at home order. 

If you believe you have been exposed, quarantine at home for 14 days and be observant of any onset of symptoms.  Individuals with symptoms should isolate themselves at home until they have met the following factors: At least 3 days (72 hours) without fever, with no use of fever-reducing medications; AND improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); AND at least 7 days have passed since symptoms first appeared. 

If you have questions, use the SLV COVID-19 information hotline (719-480-8719). 

Questions around symptoms and testing can be directed to the local nurse hotlines: 

SLV Health nurse Line (719-589-2511 ext. 9).

Valley-Wide Health Systems nurse line (719-589-3658, ext 9) or

Rio Grande Hospital nurse line (719-657-4990).

They will assess your condition over the phone and give you instructions on what to do next. 

Continue to find the most current information on this response in the San Luis Valley at www.facebook.com/slvemergency and the www.slvemergency.org website. 

General COVID information: CO HELP line 1-877-462-2911 (English and Spanish) 

Colorado updates and guidance: covid19.colorado.gov/CDC updates and guidance: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

 

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Isolation is separating someone who is sick from those who are not sick. It is routinely done in hospitals, and at this time isolation for COVID-19 is ideally done at home when experiencing mild symptoms. Isolation includes those who have symptoms of COVID-19, those who have a positive COVID-19 test, and for those who might have COVID-19. Symptoms, especially early on, may be mild and feel like a common cold. In isolation, you should stay away from others until you have had no fever for at least 72 hours without using medication that reduces fevers, other symptoms have improved, and at least 7 days have passed since symptoms first appeared. While in isolation, stay home except to get medical care, do not go to work or any public areas. While at home, stay in a separate room from your family and use a separate bathroom if possible. If you need to seek medical care, contact your healthcare provider first or the nurse line for directions. Symptoms management includes plenty of rest, increased fluids, pain and fever-reducing medications, etc. If you need to seek medical care, contact your healthcare provider first or the nurse line for directions.

 

Quarantine. What’s the difference between it and isolation? Quarantine is used when someone may have had contact with someone who is sick, with or without a positive test result. This can include household members or a close contact that has symptoms of COVID-19, had a positive test, or are getting ill and think they might have COVID-19. As with isolation, follow the same guidelines staying home unless you need to seek medical care. Quarantine is for 14 days, if you do get sick, you need to begin following the isolation guidelines.

 

To slow the spread of COVID-19 we continue to strongly recommend that everyone continue practicing physical distancing and staying home unless absolutely necessary. When you do leave your home, whether to visit the grocery store or pick up take out from your favorite restaurant, maintain a distance of at least 6 feet between yourself and others. Comply with the directions from the governor and local counties to keep gatherings to less than 10 individuals.

 

Along with physical distancing, practice actions that protect others, washing your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, avoid touching your face, cover your coughs and sneezes, avoid sharing household items and clean “high touch” surfaces daily like doorknobs, countertops, light switches, etc.

 

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Costilla County Issues an Emergency Declaration - - a Local Disaster Emergency Declaration was executed, March 17, 2020.

Costilla County Public Health Issues a STANDING PUBLIC HEALTH ORDER RELATED TO EVENTS, April 8, 2020 - Amended Public Health Order

Effective immediately: The purpose of the Amended Public Health Order is to amend the existing Order, to further restrict the gathering of person(s) in areas of reservoirs, including Smith Reservoir, Mountain Home Reservoir, Sanchez Reservoir, and Stabilization Reservoir and associated camping areas. This Order amends and supersedes the previous Standing Public Health Order issued by Costilla County regarding COVID-19. The Order compliments the Costilla County Board of Commissioners Resolution 2020-5, which closes portions of county roads that access the above-mentioned reservoirs.The Costilla County Public Health Department is prohibiting all events of 10 people or more.  Events with fewer than 10 attendees are required to take social distancing steps to mitigate the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus. This order will last until May 16th and is subject to review by the Public Health Director consistent with recommendations from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.

Costilla County Public Health is closely monitoring the evolving Coronavirus outbreak and remains in collaboration with local, regional, and state partners. This is a rapidly evolving situation.

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Costilla County Offices are undergoing restricted public access to buildings and services during this time.

The Costilla County Commissioners' Office is closed to the public.  Please call 719-672-3372 with any questions.  Staff is still working regular hours.

 

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Click here for a link to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention information page about the Coronovirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

For general questions about COVID-19, please call the Colorado Help Center at 1-877-462-2911.

 

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Who is at risk from COVID-19?

Certain people will have an increased risk of infection:

  • People who have traveled to areas where widespread community transmission is occurring.
  • People who had direct close contact with someone who as confirmed to have COVID-19.

Some people are at higher risk for getting sick from COVID-19.  That includes:

  • Older people (over age 60), especially those over 80 years.
  • People who have chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease or diabetes.
  • Older people with chronic medical conditions are at greatest risk

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