COVID-19 surge in Adams County prompts increased restrictions

More than 100 cars steadily lined up at the COVID-19 testing center, Oct. 19, 2020, at Restoration Christian Fellowship at 15660 E. 6th Ave. in Aurora. The rapid-test is currently offered every Monday at this location.
Photo by PHILIP B. POSTON/Sentinel Colorado

AURORA | Tri-County Health will impose more restrictions on Adams County residents and businesses amid rising COVID-19 cases, putting the region just one notch away from a stay-at-home order.

The Tri-County Health Department will tighten COVID-19 restrictions at 5 p.m.  Oct. 28, officials announced Friday. Adams County, which covers much of north Aurora and the northern Denver metro area, will move further along the state’s COVID-19 dial to stage three of a Safer at Home order.

The move was necessary because of concerning virus metrics, officials said Friday. 

Under the new rules:

  •  public and private gatherings must be limited to ten or less people from no more than two households.
  • Office-based businesses can only allow, at most, 25% of employees to work in-person.
  • Restaurants, “houses of worship” and personal services — such as barbers, hairstylists and dog groomers — can only allow 25% of their occupancy indoors.
  • Gyms must close and switch to virtual services. 

In a statement Friday, Tri-County and Adams County officials said COVID-19 metrics had “skyrocketed” well beyond the threshold to strengthen lockdown rules. 

As of Friday morning, when Tri-County announced the new rules, Adams County clocked a two-week incidence rate of almost 445 confirmed cases per 100,000 people.

The test positivity rate had soared to 9.3%. That’s well above the state’s target of 5% positivity. 

By Sunday afternoon, the two-week incidence rate in Adams County had ticked up to 476 cases per 100,000 people. Hospitalizations are also increasing in Adams County, although rates remain far lower than the “first wave” of virus cases in the spring. 

“We understand it has been a very long year, but to avoid further restrictions from the Health Department, we need everyone in Adams County to pull together and do what needs to be done to get our numbers down,” said Emma Pinter, Adams County commissioner.

Dr. John Douglas, executive director of Tri-County health, told the Sentinel earlier this month Adams County was suffering because of viral transmission in private homes and gathering. Douglas said many “essential” workers live in Adams County and often in more crowded homes.

As of Sunday afternoon, only Adams County and Logan County in northeastern Colorado had been bumped up to level three of the safer-at-home restrictions. 

If cases continue to rise, Adams County could be placed under a stay-at-home order shuttering businesses and strictly limiting movements. 

As Colorado and the U.S. sees a so-called third wave of COVID-19 cases, many counties across Colorado were also placed under more restrictions, but to a lesser extent than Adams and Logan counties.