Tri-County Health Department issues a Public Health Order to extend the guidance
On April 16, 2021, the COVID-19 Dial issued by Governor Polis and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) will expire, and counties across Colorado can issue their own guidance for their citizens. On April 8, 2021, the Tri-County Health Department’s Board of Health (BOH) authorized and directed the Executive Director of Tri-County Health Department (TCHD) to issue a Public Health Order for a simplified version of the Dial with the goal to continue to control and/or slow the spread of COVID-19.
As of April 9, 2021, there are 132,885 known positive cases in Adams, Arapahoe, and Douglas Counties, with 1,595 deaths in those counties; and there is evidence of spread of more contagious and potentially more severe variant strains as well. 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.
“We worked closely with our county representatives and other metro health departments in order to create a Public Health Order that simplifies the guidance and eases restrictions on individuals and businesses,” said John M. Douglas, Jr., MD, Executive Director of Tri-County Health Department. “As more and more of our residents are protected by one of the safe and highly effective COVID-19 vaccines now available, we are hopeful that we will be successful in our race between the emerging variant strains of virus and vaccination, and that we will be back to full re-opening in the near future. However, as the agency responsible for protecting public health in our counties, we will monitor our progress and should conditions worsen, TCHD may need to tighten restrictions if hospitalizations begin to increase again.”
The TCHD Public Health Order (PHO) will be in effect from April 16 through May 15, and highlights of the Public Health Order include:
- Phase 1: Moving Toward Full Re-Opening, April 16 - May 15 (30 days): Counties will move to a new level on the Dial, one Level less restrictive than the level indicated by their metrics on April 15. For example, a county at Level Yellow metrics on the current state Dial on April 15 will move to Level Blue on April 16 and remain there until May 15.
- Phase 2: Observation Period, May 16 - August 16 (90 days): Counties will move to Level Clear, which has no restrictions, subject to TCHD observation of hospital admission rates in the County. In Level Clear, businesses will be able to operate at 100 percent capacity with no Mitigation Requirements, although face-covering requirements may still apply.
To enhance personal safety and help reduce levels of COVID-19 transmission across our communities, our residents should continue to social distance; wear masks in public indoor areas; avoid large gatherings or crowds, especially indoors; stay home while they are sick and get tested for COVID-19 if they have symptoms; wash their hands often; and get vaccinated as soon as possible.
Phase 1 will take effect at 12:01 a.m. on April 16, 2021, and expire at 11:59 p.m. on May 15, 2021. The Phase 2 observational period will continue from May 16 through August 15 in order to evaluate the need for any subsequent restrictions. During any time of restricted capacity, counties may continue participating in the 5-Star program. As per TCHD Board of Health Policy, any county within TCHD’s jurisdiction may opt out of this Order by April 16 through resolution of the county’s governing body and as provided in written notification to TCHD at email@example.com.