Summit County’s current disease incidence rate has been climbing drastically, and is aligned with the Colorado Department of Health and Environment’s (CDPHE) Level Red, Stay at Home. However, State officials have decided that they will not issue Stay at Home orders at this time, and instead, CDPHE has opted for an incremental increase in restrictions to Level Orange, in hopes that these restrictions will be effective in slowing the spread of disease.
The new order goes into effect today, November 6, 2020 at 5:00pm and expires November 30, 2020 at 11:59pm, unless extended, rescinded, superseded, or amended in writing.
• All businesses are now reduced to 25% capacity.
• Restaurants and bars need to be closed by 9:30pm.
• Public and private gatherings are discouraged between the hours of 10:00pm and 5:00am.
• Critical retail such as grocery stores, liquor stores and gas stations may remain open per their usual hours.
Why the New Restrictions?
New cases: How much the virus is circulating in a county.
This is where Summit is not doing well. In order to have a common measure across counties small, medium, and large, the CDPHE calculates rates based on a population of 100,000 people. Over 350 cases per 100,000 people puts a county in “Stay at Home”, the lowest level. As of Nov. 6, the Summit County two-week cumulative case incidence falls in Level Red – Stay at Home – on the state dial with 806.9 cases per 100,000 people – an alarming increase from 539.0 cases on Oct. 23 and 371.2 cases less than two weeks ago.
Percent positivity: Whether there is sufficient COVID-19 testing to capture the level of virus transmission.
Testing numbers are going up, which is good. In the week leading up to the October 29 health order, there were 522 COVID-19 tests administered and 7% returned positive, which falls within the safer-at-home Level 2 threshold. The County has increased testing sites and therefore, testing capacity, yet the Summit County testing positivity rate continues to climb despite the increase in testing. On Nov. 6, the County reported a 14.9-percent rolling 14-day test positivity rate. These numbers continue to rise despite increased restrictions on social and commercial activity.
Impact on hospitalizations: Whether hospitalizations are increasing, stable, or declining.
While there have been only five hospitalizations since September 15, patients in the High Country are often transferred to the Front Range so we need to keep an eye on hospital beds around the state. Right now 37% of adult critical care ventilators are in use in the state, so we want to do everything we can not to add to that patient count to make sure there is room to treat everyone who needs it (not just COVID patients).
Data and the State COVID-19 Dial
• Know the facts- Check out Summit County case data and State case data.
• Check out the State COVID-19 dial page for an easy to understand table (about half way down the page) that explains the different milestones for each level.
What we need to do – We know this…
1. Keep physical distance from those not in your household.
2. Wash your hands A LOT and avoid touching your face.
3. Cover your nose and mouth when in a public place, including when you are at work in an office, restaurant, in the stock room at a retailer, etc… and when you are outdoors and you can’t maintain 6 feet of distance.
4. While face coverings are not a substitute for physical distancing, they do help keep your spittle, sneezes, mucus in… yuck- you get the idea. Don’t like face coverings? No one does. If you don’t want to wear them, then make the decision to stay at home, get your groceries delivered, online bank, etc…
5. Stay home if you are sick.
6. Get tested if you have symptoms identified with COVID.
7. Get a flu shot. They are available at Safeway, Walmart, or your medical provider. Let’s not add the flu to this mix.
So if we know what to do, what is the problem?
Most of us feel fatigued and weary about COVID-19, and that is understandable. It’s a health issue, but it has also been politicized. So let’s get down to what is most important- staying healthy, because this virus can hit in surprising ways even if you are really fit, and protecting our economy to make sure every community member can stay employed, put food on their table, care for their family, tend to their mental health, and live in safe housing.
Summit Public Health has identified the behaviors that are resulting in an uptick in cases, and therefore, they are targeting those behaviors with very specific public health orders. Our businesses and schools are staying open, but our behaviors need to change so we can stay healthy and protect our economy.
Personal Group Gatherings
These new public health orders around personal group gatherings are there to address the reality that this is a primary way that COVID -19 is being spread in our community. We are longing for connection, but we are unfortunately also spreading this virus to the people we care about the most due to group gatherings with people from many households. Here is what the public health order says about personal group gatherings:
• No more than 6 individuals indoors from no more than 2 households.
• No more than 10 individuals outdoors from no more than 2 households.
• No more than 10 individuals indoors and/or outdoors from no more than 2 households in a lodging unit, which includes camping sites, hotels, motels, and short term lodging accommodation rentals of 30 days or less.
• NEW- Public and private gatherings are now discouraged between the hours of 10:00pm and 5:00am. This is NOT a curfew, rather than a plea to reduce socialization during hours typically associated with greater alcohol use and reduced inhibition.
• Owners and/or entities/management companies responsible for the booking and renting of lodging units must validate and confirm the identity and group size of all renters upon arrival to ensure compliance with this order, which states that there may be no more than 10 individuals indoors and/or outdoors from no more than 2 households in a lodging unit.
• You can file a short term rental complaint in Frisco by calling 970-432-8291 or filing online.
Non-Critical Office-Based Jobs
• Non-critical office-based businesses are now required to maintain an in-office occupancy at not more than 25% of total office staff by maximizing use of telecommuting and developing in-office rotation schedules.
• Reminder- When in the office, face coverings must be worn in all common areas and shared office spaces. You can only take off your face covering if you are in your office alone with the door closed.
• Which jobs are critical? Check out the State’s definition on page 26 of this link to the latest Safer at Home public health order.
Restaurants and Bars
• Restaurants and bars must now limit party size to 6 people or fewer and a maximum of 2 households.
• At 9:30 pm, all restaurants and bars must close. This closure applies to both outside dining and indoor dining, as well as take-out and delivery.
• Restaurants and bars must also track the following employee info to support effective contact tracing:
• Current contact information for all employees
• Dates of all shifts worked by all employees, dating back to re-opening
• Other known places of employment for each employee
• Heads up- We’ve heard that some outbreaks can likely be linked to after hours partying by employees so we urge you to stop that behavior and not become “that person or business”.
• This virus is not more dangerous after 10:00 pm, but people do let their guard down after a few drinks and as it gets later into the evening. This is a way of preventing those behaviors.
• Across the county, police departments will be stepping up enforcement of public health orders.
• Call non-emergency dispatch at 970-668-8600 to reach law enforcement across the county.
• As always, call 911 in an emergency.
The goal is to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in order to protect our community’s health, happiness, and economic well-being. Remember, the magic is in the compliance and the small decisions you make every day. Let’s do this.
Full Amended Summit County Public Health Order November 6, 2020 Summit County Press Release