Douglas County vows to opt out of simplified COVID-19 restriction dial after state hands over local control

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AURORA |  When the state turns COVID-19 public health orders over to local control this week the Tri-County Health Department will transition to a simplified dial framework for 30 days, but only two of the three counties in the agency’s jurisdiction will use it.

Douglas County board of commissioners announced Monday that the board plans to opt out of the framework, which will go into effect on April 16, and will formally consider a resolution to do so at its Tuesday meeting.

“We trust our citizens and businesses to think and act for themselves to protect their lives and livelihoods,” the board said in a statement. “In lieu of further orders, we will continue to encourage strong public health recommendations, good hygiene, and the choice to be vaccinated.”

The modified dial was voted on at the Tri-County Health Department’s April 8 board of directors meeting.

The new public health orders will move all counties one notch down to a less restrictive level starting April 16 when control is turned over from the state to the counties, and will last through May 15. Currently, Adams and Douglas Counties are at Level Yellow and Arapahoe County is at Level Blue. 

“With cases going up and limited COVID-19 vaccine supply, Tri-County Health Department believes it is necessary to remain cautious for a brief extension of time until vaccines are more widely available,” the department said in a weekend press release.

For the following 90 days through August 16, counties will be in an “observation period” where there are no restrictions but the department will monitor hospital admission rates to determine whether modifications are needed.

There will not be capacity limits during that time period, according to a release from the department, but mask orders may still be in place.

Board members also voted to allow counties to continue participating in the 5-star program.

Executive director John Douglas told the board that the region is currently on a good trajectory for controlling COVID-19, though incidence rates have slowly been drifting upward, particularly in Douglas County.

Colorado is currently in its “fourth wave” of COVID cases, he said, and so far there has been no increase in deaths. However, he said that the state is not doing enough genomic sequencing to determine how prevalent the new COVID-19 variants are in Colorado.

The region is continuing to see progress on vaccinations, but vaccination rates among Black and Hispanic residents are consistently lagging white residents in all three counties. The department is putting “enormous effort” into reaching those communities, Douglas said, particularly Hispanic residents.

 

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LOWELL THOMAS
24 days ago

County’s??? Are you a paid writer?

Ben
Ben
24 days ago

This whole thing is a joke and was just a big political scheme so that we have to do the mail in ballots so that the Democrats can win. Look at Texas, Louisiana and Florida those are the three states that don’t wear masks and they’re doing just fine. Look at California who is in level red and it Hass to wear masks and can’t go anywhere I’ve had the highest number of Covid cases over any other country and state. The only reason Douglas County doesn’t wanna stop this Covid and start to go back to normal and get rid of the masks it’s because they’re all Democrats and they wanna dictators and control us because they don’t Want to hear what the Christians have to say. You know we’ve worn masks and follow these rules for two years now how long are we going to keep doing this we can’t do it for the rest of our lives. Jesus is going to come back and when he comes back we’re all gonna go with him but these Democrats and Joe Biden and Harris who have followed the word of the devil and I dictated everything we’ve done and everything they want us to do will not be going with us they’ll be staying here.