Tri-County Health eyeing 2 more weeks of ‘stay-home’ measures; Denver staying closed through May 8

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AURORA | While Gov. Jared Polis is comfortable with transitioning the state out of a stay-at-home order and into slightly more relaxed “safer-at-home” measures, county health officials may not be ready to end those stricter policies just yet.

Dr. John Douglas, executive director at the Tri County Health Department, said during a virtual town hall on Thursday night the department is still considering “slightly extending” those orders in Arapahoe, Adams and Douglas counties.

It’s not certain for how long the order would be extended, but health officials suggest it could be May 8. Douglas said during the town hall other dates are being considered too, but a formal decision won’t be made until the board of health meets on Friday.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock on Thursday extended the stay-at-home orders in that city through May 8.

Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman said in a tweet Thursday he’s also heard talk of two more weeks for the order. Tri County originally made a stay-at-home order before rescinding it when Polis made a declared a statewide order.

“Lots of ongoing discussions among Denver metro area public health officials about the need to extend the ‘stay-at-home’ order for up to two weeks longer,” Coffman said. “They are concerned that it’s too early to relax it. The Governor’s stay-at-home order runs through April 26th.”

Gary Sky, a spokesman for Tri-County, told the Sentinel in an email Thursday the department will likely take a regional approach and partner with other county departments to make that decision.

In a news release Sky said the health department will make a decision on the extension by Sunday, when the state order expires.

Current stay-at-home measures have helped achieve between 75 percent and 78 percent social distancing, according to Douglas. Moving to safer-at-home policies would reduce social distancing to about 60 to 65 percent.

“The hurricane has passed… but this will be many, many months of hurricane-type living,” Douglas said during the Thursday town hall.

A vaccine, which could take another 15-18 months to become available, is realistically when life may begin to start to look more like it did in January and February.