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Pitkin County limits size of informal gatherings to 5 just before Halloween weekend

Pitkin County is currently investigating 11 COVID breakouts in area.

PITKIN COUNTY, Colo — Just in time for Halloween, the Pitkin County Board of Health voted Thursday to reduce the size of informal gatherings from 10 to five for at least the next two weeks.

The decision — a 4-2 divided vote — came on the heels of news that the county’s incidence rate of COVID-19 rose above the threshold between Level 2 and Level 3 restrictions on Tuesday and Wednesday, which could lead to harsher community restrictions.

“There are 11 outbreaks we’re investigating in Pitkin County,” said Public Health Director Karen Koenemann. “A lot are related to informal gatherings. So what we’re seeing is more disease transmission because of these gatherings.”

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The informal gathering cap of five people goes into effect Friday and can include a maximum of two households. The state’s current public health order caps informal gatherings at 10 people and a maximum of two households.

The five-person maximum does not include restaurant seating — now capped at 10 per table — or work places, child care centers, family households larger than five people or any events that need or have been issued a permit by public health.

The state grades counties on three metrics when it comes to COVID-19: incidence rate based on 100,000 population, positivity rate and hospitalization rate. Pitkin County ranks in the lowest category in the state in positivity rate and hospitalizations, according to statistics Thursday.

However, the county’s incidence rate is a problem.

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