Boulder County eases restrictions on college-age residents

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BOULDER   Boulder County health officials have eased restrictions on gatherings of college-aged adults after coronavirus case numbers and positivity rates in the county declined.

Previously, anyone from 18 to 22 years of age was limited to gatherings of no more than two people after a coronavirus outbreak at the University of Colorado’s main campus surpassed 1,100 cases.

County officials are now amending the order so young adults can gather in groups of up to six, Colorado Public Radio reported. The amended regulations went into effect Tuesday. It does not affect people living in the same dorm room or household.

“This is such good news. This means that our community is safer from the spread of this disease, and young adults can connect with a few more of their friends,” County Public Health Executive Director Jeff Zayach said.

Health officials say the two-week average of newly confirmed COVID-19 cases per 100,000 young adults in the county dropped to 470 cases compared to the 30,000 cases in mid-September. Officials say the positivity rate also dropped to 6.2% compared to higher earlier this week.

Under the amended order, young adults can participate in regulated or university-sponsored events as long as public health guidelines are followed, including social distancing and wearing masks.

The University of Colorado also announced a return to hybrid and in-person instruction, saying it is “continuing as planned” and will begin Wednesday.

The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.