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State health officials seek input on proposed new COVID-19 dial framework

"Dial 2.0" is meant to account for the benefits of vaccinations and be more responsive to local conditions, CDPHE said.

DENVER — The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) asks for feedback on proposed changes to the state's COVID-19 dial framework.

The state has already met with several groups including local public health agencies, county commissioners, mayors and city managers to discuss potential changes to the dial, according to a release, focused on making it more responsive to local conditions.

"Dial 2.0" is also meant to account for the benefits to hospital capacity from the vaccination of people over 70 and frontline healthcare workers and provide "the ability to better balance disease suppression with economic hardship due to increasing vaccinations and decreasing disease rates," according to the release.

“Coloradans have made significant sacrifices to reduce disease transmission, so it is time to update the dial to reflect this reality, plus the increasing number of people who are immunized,” CDPHE Executive Director Jill Hunsaker Ryan said. “This updated proposal is based on Colorado's disease and vaccination rates, plus input from local public health agencies and local governments, and we are seeking the public's help to refine it further.”

"The Dial has been a useful tool in helping us to manage our response to the pandemic, but it needs to be updated based on lessons learned over the past five months,” said Tri-County Health Department Executive Director Dr. John Douglas. “We appreciate the collaboration between CDPHE and local public health agencies in considering these updates together.”

The release said draft changes include:

  • An increase in the range of incidence metrics for all colors to better balance disease suppression with economic hardship while preventing a hospital capacity breach.  

  • Moving to a seven-day metric of incidence rate, percent positivity of testing and hospitalizations instead of a 14-day metric to more quickly respond to local conditions 

  • Decreasing the metric requirement for testing positivity rates in the yellow and orange levels to continue to promote testing as an important disease containment strategy

  • Special consideration from CDPHE for counties with populations under 20,000 to determine the level on the dial, accounting for weekly variability in the percent positivity of tests and disease incidence rates

"Increased vaccine distribution and decreasing disease prevalence are allowing Colorado to continue opening more of the economy while saving lives with an updated “Dial 2.0” to reflect the current state of the pandemic," the release said.

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Coloradans can review the draft and submit feedback with this form after reviewing all the draft changes, the release said. The deadline for providing feedback is Feb. 1, at 5 p.m. The release said CDPHE would update the draft based on stakeholder feedback. The final guidelines will be available shortly after the comment period.

>Video below: Changes proposed to Colorado's COVID-19 dial framework

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