On Saturday Las Animas County was moved to ‘yellow’ on the new state COVID-19 status dial, allowing restaurants and other settings to move to 50 percent capacity.
Las Animas County, as of Feb. 5, had 32 active cases of COVID-19 and has seen 940 total cases and 11 deaths due to the virus.
Meanwhile, Huerfano County was moved to ‘blue’ on the COVID dial and has about nine active cases.
“The Las Animas Huerfano Counties District Health Department is excited about the unexpected positive change that will ease some restrictions in the community,” said the health department.
Public Health Director Kim Gonzales said, “We have made progress with vaccinations, we are increasing the availability of testing and with prevention activities such as wearing masks, social distancing and frequent hand washing. We must all understand this pandemic isn’t over yet. We must not let our guard down now but continue with these personal behaviors.”
What the state of Colorado calls the “COVID-19 Dial 2.0,” was put into effect as a tool “that allows Colorado to balance the ongoing need to contain the COVID-19 virus with the need for localized guidance during the pandemic,” said the state.
“Dial 2.0 is designed so that counties can swiftly move into more restrictive levels when their numbers go up, and more quickly into recovery when their numbers go down,” said Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) Executive Director Jill Hunsaker Ryan. “Input from our partners helped us tailor the new dial to best serve the needs of Coloradans at the local level. Since the dial’s last major change in November, Colorado has begun distributing COVID-19 vaccines throughout the state. More people now have immunity to COVID-19, including people over 70 and frontline health care workers. This relieves the strain on our hospital system.”
Said the CDPHE, “Given the level of vaccinations occurring and decreasing COVID-19 rates, the range of incidence metrics in Dial 2.0 better reflect a balance between disease suppression and economic activity. Additionally, instead of looking at the numbers over a 14-day period, Dial 2.0 will consider metrics within a 7-day period — making the dial more responsive and flexible.”
The new metrics for Dial 2.0 is as follows:
— Counties in Level Green must now have no more than 15 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in one week OR a comparable number of cases in counties with under 20,000 people.
— Counties in Level Blue must now have between 15 and 100 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in one week.
— Counties in Level Yellow must now have between 100 and 300 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in one week. The rate of positive tests must be no more than 7.5 percent.
— Counties in Level Orange must now have between 300 and 500 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in one week. The rate of positive tests must be no more than 10 percent.
— Counties in Level Red will now have more than 501 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in one week. At this level, hospital system capacity is constrained, and state assistance is requested for patient transport or staff augmentation.
— In counties at Level Purple, statewide hospital capacity risks being breached, and crisis standards of care are approaching.
Level ‘yellow’ capacity restrictions are as follows:
— High Risk Populations: Advised to stay at home, Eligible for worker benefits and mandatory prioritization for remote work
— Personal Gathering Size: Up to 10 from no more than 2 households
— Childcare: Open
— P-12 Schools: In-person suggested
— Higher Education: In person, hybrid or remote as appropriate
— Restaurants- Indoors: 50 percent capacity or up to 50 people
— Restaurants — Outdoors: 6 feet between parties, per local zoning
— Last Call: 11 p.m. on premises
— Offices: 50 percent capacity, remote work is strongly encouraged
— Bars: Closed
— Gyms/Fitness: 50 percent capacity, 50 people
— Critical and Non-Critical Retail: 50 percent capacity
— Personal Services: 50 percent capacity or 50 people
— Limited Health Care Settings: 50 percent capacity or 50 people
— Indoors unseated events and entertainment :50 percent capacity or 50 people
— Indoors seated events and entertainment: 50 percent capacity or 100 people
— Outdoors unseated events and entertainment: 50 percent capacity or 175 people
— Outdoors seated events and entertainment: 50 percent capacity or 175 people
CDPHE says that when capacity limits are expressed as both a percentage of posted capacity and a total number of people, use whichever number is fewer.
In Las Animas County a free drive-up testing site is being operated this month at the Las Animas County Justice Center. Testing will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Feb. 10 (Wednesday), Feb. 11, Feb. 12, Feb. 24, Feb. 25 and Feb. 26.