La Plata County Moves to ‘Level Orange: High Risk’
To reduce community transmission and slow a dramatic rise in cases that threatens our school learning models and our local economy, San Juan Basin Public Health (SJBPH) and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) are moving La Plata County to COVID-19 Level Orange: High Risk (formerly known as ‘Safer at Home Level 3’) and SJBPH is restricting public and private gatherings beginning Friday, November 13.
Until now, local schools have been able to stay open with in-person instruction options because of their precautions to control the spread of the virus and due to low levels of community transmission. These low case counts also enabled businesses and events to be open in-person and avoid workplace exposures and outbreaks. Unfortunately, in the last fourteen days SJBPH has identified 224 cases of COVID-19 in La Plata County residents — more than were identified in the entire period from March to early August. COVID-19 is now widespread in the La Plata County community, with daily exposures identified in schools, businesses, and special events, and is placing pressure on local hospital capacity.
To reduce transmission at workplaces and social gatherings and avoid the need for a Stay-at-Home Order that severely impacts our schools and economy, SJBPH and CDPHE are moving La Plata County into ‘Level Orange: High Risk’ on the state’s COVID-19 dial, which reduces the legal operating capacity for most businesses from 50% to 25% and moves last call for alcohol sales to 10:00pm. The full list of changes associated with moving levels on the dial can be found at the CDPHE website. This change in public health restrictions will go into effect at 12:01am on Friday, November 13.
To support compliance with the new restrictions and reduce transmission in social settings where mask-wearing and physical distancing are less common, SJBPH has issued a Public Health Advisory for La Plata County. The Advisory strongly recommends that public and private gatherings in any indoor setting be limited to one household only, and that people stay at home between the hours of 10:30pm and 5:00am. SJBPH recommends that all non-critical businesses close to the public during these hours. The Advisory will remain in effect until November 30 but will be reviewed prior to Thanksgiving Day.
With the onset of winter and more activities moving indoors, the community must act now to cancel social gatherings, move as many employees as possible to remote work, and stay home as much as possible, to keep everyone safe from COVID-19.
“Our community has shown we can choose to be successful in fighting COVID-19,” said Liane Jollon, executive director of SJBPH. “While cases rose around the state in the fall, we took the steps necessary to keep our schools open and our economy strong. But we are rapidly catching up to the uncontrolled levels of disease seen in the rest of Colorado and we are at risk of serious consequences for our hospitals. We know everyone is tired of this pandemic, and we are so thankful of the sacrifices everyone has made in their workplaces and social lives. We must ask all community members to once again come together and adopt good public health practices to keep our families and neighbors safe.”
For information about all phases of the state’s COVID-19 dial framework for public health protections, visit https://covid19.colorado.gov/data/covid-19-dial.
For the most up to date information on how to take precautions against the spread of COVID-19, visit SJBPH’s website.
Post courtesy of Pagosa Daily Post