COLORADO, USA — A rise in COVID-19 cases has the Tri-County Health Department (TCHD) warning Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties that they could be in for new restrictions to slow the spread of the virus if the trend of rising cases in those areas does not change.
In a release, TCHD said the three counties are at risk of moving to a more restrictive level on Colorado's COVID-19 Dial, which could mean reduced capacities for businesses, houses of worship, and community gatherings, as well as earlier last call times for bars and restaurants.
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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.
TCHD and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) are working with each county on individual, community-based mitigation plans to help reduce the number of COVID-19 cases, the release said.
“We all need to step up our prevention measures to reduce transmission and keep our counties open,” said John M. Douglas, Jr. MD, executive director of TCHD. “That means, we need to limit the number of activities we participate in. You’re more likely to get COVID-19 from someone you know and spend time with than a stranger.”
CDPHE monitors case incidence rates, test positivity rates and trends in hospitalizations to determine if a county moves toward more restrictive or less restrictive levels in the COVID-19 Dial, and if they still qualify for variances for public and private events, the release said.
The release said Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties have seen the following activity in the last two weeks:
- 1,420 new cases and 52 new hospitalizations have been reported in Adams County.
- 885 new cases and 39 new hospitalizations have been reported in Arapahoe County.
- 400 new cases and 8 new hospitalizations have been reported in Douglas County.
“TCHD’s case investigation and contact tracing follow up show that a large number of the positive cases may be connected to both public and private social gatherings,” added Douglas. “To reduce the spread of infection, when gathering – whether it is indoors or outside, or at a private party or public event – everyone should be sure to wear face coverings, maintain at least six feet of social distancing from others outside of their household, and wash their hands frequently.”
Residents of Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties are urged to consult TCHD's small gathering guidance for information on how to gather safely and minimize the risk of transmitting COVID-19.
The release said prevention measures are especially crucial now that the weather is cooling and more gatherings and restaurant seating will be indoors, where the disease can spread more easily than outdoors. In addition to the use of masks, social distancing, and handwashing, the release said, key prevention steps include staying home when sick, getting tested if COVID symptoms occur, and cooperating with public health staff in the event of a positive test or exposure to someone who has been diagnosed with COVID.
TCHD also urges everyone to get a flu shot as an extra precaution to stay healthy.
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