STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, CO, February 19, 2021 – In a two-step process, the Board of Health made changes to the local public health order today to ease restrictions and take the first step to moving the County to Level Yellow. The second step will be a letter from Routt County to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) requesting the change to Level Yellow, which is expected next week after seven days of case data is collected. The revised local public health order states that personal gatherings follow the State Level Orange restrictions, which is two households and ten people. In addition, office-based businesses can move to 25%. The local public health order is in effect until the end of March.
Reacting to the decision, Commissioner Corrigan said, “I am little disappointed, I thought we could move from orange to yellow today. But with our discussion, I am comfortable at being just be a little more cautious. Taking this first step on amending our local public order is rational and reasonable. Being cautious is the right thing to do. In just waiting a few more days, I am going to feel better, than making a change too soon. I believe we are on the right track. This downturn statewide and locally means people are taking COVID seriously. I want to thank public health for their efforts and want to thank the community for keeping up the good work to get us back on track.”
The third amended PH order 2020-04 changed in the following ways:
· Restaurants and lodging shall operate at the personal gathering restriction at the same dial level which the county is subject. At Level Orange, the capacity is no more than ten people and a maximum of two households.
· Contact tracing logs will continue for restaurants and all businesses still need to send their site mitigation plans to
· Office-based businesses restrictions will go back to Level Orange at 25%.
· Capacity restrictions from the state can be found .
The metrics for Routt County moving to Level Yellow started on Tuesday, February 16th. According to the state’s COVID-19 dial, a county can move up or down on the dial based on seven days of metrics. If the metrics support it, the county will be eligible for Level Yellow on Tuesday, February 23rd. If the trend continues, after the Board of Health meeting on Wednesday, the Commissioners and Public Health plan to send a letter to CDPHE on Wednesday requesting Level Yellow, with an expectation that the County would move levels by the end of next week.
Dr. Fritha Morrison, Routt County epidemiologist, updated the Commissioners on COVID-19 data. “We are at 56 cases for the past seven days and the trend continues to go downward. Our positivity rate at 5.21% is encouraging. Our testing has decreased, and we have probably missed some cases. Hopefully the trend will continue downward, we are holding our breath for what happens after Blues Break. We are still at twice the 14-day cumulative incidence rate than the state and we still need to keep practicing the six commitments to keep our community safe.”
County Medical Officer, Dr. Brian Harrington gave his assessment, “We are expecting a downward trend. But we need to understand that it won’t be a straight line. Blues beak and Mardi Gras may contribute to more cases. But over the long-term, we are optimistic on where we are going.”
Public Health Nurse, Brooke Maxwell gave an update on COVID-19 vaccinations in Routt County. “It’s pretty encouraging that we are over 70% for first doses for our 70- year-old population. We are 17% overall for Routt County. We did not get any vaccine this week and because of the storms, I expect we will not get vaccine next week either. But we are hopeful our immunization numbers go up when additional providers like City Market, Safeway and Walmart start getting supply. The Governor also announced that the next priority group will start sometime in March.”
“The next group includes essential workers,” said Roberta Smith Public Health Director, “We are hoping to get more direction from CDPHE on how essential workers are classified. We still face the issue of eligibility vs. availability. But we are hopeful when there is more supply, we can operationalize some large clinics in Routt County, we have been providing the state with information about our capacity.”