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Arapahoe, Adams counties enact new guidelines to stop spike of COVID-19 cases

The emergency public health orders are designed to help reverse the spike of cases the county is currently seeing.

ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. — The Tri-County Health Department (TCHD) issued new emergency public health orders for both Arapahoe and Adams counties on Friday.

The order for Arapahoe County, which goes into effect at 11 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 16, adds new restrictions designed to help stop the increase in COVID-19 cases the county is currently seeing.

Under the new order:

  • All alcohol sales at restaurants and bars within the county will end at 11 p.m. instead of midnight.
  • Personal gatherings (such as groupings of families, friends and neighbors) are restricted to 10 people or fewer, instead of the 25-person limit.
  • Nonessential, office-based businesses are encouraged to increase telecommuting within office-based environments.  

The order is slated to expire at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020, unless otherwise extended.

Adams County's order goes into effect at 9 p.m. Friday and will remain active until Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. unless it is extended.

Under that order:

  • Spectators are prohibited at Colorado High School Sports Association (CHSSA) sanctioned sporting events.
  • Spectators are prohibited from adult recreational and league sports.
  • Organized recreational and league youth sports are limited to 25 people per field, including spectators. Coaches and referees are excluded from the 25 person capacity limit.
  • Personal indoor gatherings are limited to no more than 5 individuals. Outdoor personal gatherings are limited to no more than 10 individuals. Life rite ceremonies are excluded. Nothing in this order prohibits the gathering of members living in the same household.
  • All alcohol beverage sales must cease at 10 p.m.

RELATED: Mask mandate to be renewed amid concern over coronavirus hospitalizations

As of Oct. 15, 2020, Adams County has a COVID-19 incidence rate of 313/100,000 population. Adams County has been beyond the state’s threshold for level 2 of Safer at Home since Sept. 28. TCHD said they hope this order will pull Adams County back within the limits of level 2 by reducing the number of COVID-19 cases.

According to the state’s dial dashboard tracking system, Arapahoe County’s COVID-19 positivity rate has increased to 5.1%, almost double what it was several weeks ago. Incidences of the disease have also continued to climb.

The county’s early monitoring fecal system also shows that these increases will continue at least into next week before they might level off, according to a release from TCHD. The county’s hospitalization rates still remain within an acceptable range, the county said.

RELATED: Colorado coronavirus latest numbers, Oct. 16

Arapahoe, along with Douglas and Adams counties, were warned on Oct. 8 that they could be in for new restrictions if the trend of rising cases in those areas did not change. 

Colorado has five levels to guide counties' responses to COVID-19: Protect Our Neighbors, Safer Level 1, Safer Level 2, Safer Level 3, and Stay at Home. Arapahoe and Douglas counties are currently at Safer Level 1, while Adams County is at Safer Level 2.

RELATED: Adams, Arapahoe, Douglas counties warned about rising COVID-19 activity

Steps like this public health order are considered mitigation efforts to avoid a retreat into Safer Level 2, which would require restrictions including tighter capacity limits on offices, businesses, restaurants and houses of worship.

“No one wants to see our communities and economy return to the widespread shutdowns we had this past spring,” said Arapahoe County Board of Commissioners Chair Nancy N. Sharpe in a release. “If we implement these mitigation measures now, we may be able to reverse these trends. It’s up to everyone to continue to do their part to stop the spread of the virus.”

RELATED: Denver limits gatherings to 5 people, will require face masks in certain outdoor settings

Citing an update in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, the City & County of Denver will now require face masks in certain outdoor public settings as well as reduce gathering limits from 10 to five people. 

The tougher mask mandate is in effect indefinitely. The limit on gatherings is effective until Nov. 16, the city said.

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