COVID-19 dial

Gov. Jared Polis has announced late Dec. 20, that all Colorado counties currently in Level Red restrictions, including Las Animas and Huerfano Counties, will be moved to Level Orange on Monday, Jan. 4, citing 13 days of decreasing case numbers and sufficient ICU bed availability statewide. On Thurs., Dec. 31, Las Animas Huerfano Counties District Health Department received the official email from Colorado Department of Public Health and environment Director Jill Hunsaker Ryan “This email is your official notification that as a county in Level Red, your Dial level will be Orange effective on Monday, January 4. As always, you may put more restrictive orders in place.” Effective Monday, January 4, 2020 at 12:01am both Huerfano and Las Animas Counties will be moving on the COVID-19 Dial from Red to Orange. Las Animas Huerfano Counties District Health Department Public Health Director Kim Gonzales said, “We know many of our businesses and workers have been struggling, so this move to Level Orange is very much welcome and deserved. Both Las Animas and Huerfano County residents and businesses have earned this through lots of hard work and commitment to keeping our community safe and healthy.” As of Thursday, a total of 529 people in Las Animas County have tested positive for the virus and 282 in Huerfano County. The Las Animas County case rate was 682.6 positive cases per 100,000 residents over the last 14 days, adjusted for population. The Huerfano County case rate was 392 positive cases per 100,000 residents over the 14 days and is also adjusted for population. While the case rates have declined locally and across the State, we are still concerned of the impacts of people gathering on Christmas and New Year’s Eve. “We don’t know what the impacts of Christmas are nor do we know what the impacts of New Year’s might be,” Gonzales said. “It takes about 10 days to two weeks before spikes from something like a major holiday show up in the data. Since the pandemic, cases have spiked after several major holidays, including the Fourth of July, Labor Day weekend and Halloween. Cases did not increase as significantly after Thanksgiving as anticipated. This may be due to testing sites have been closed for a couple of days because of the holidays, weather and people traveling.” The new limits for Level Orange High Risk are as follows: n Face coverings: Individuals must wear face coverings over nose and mouth whenever indoors in areas open to the general public, and outdoors when 6 feet of physical separation cannot be maintained. n High risk populations: Strongly advised to stay at home Personal Gathering Size: Up to 10 from no more than 2 households n Gyms: 25 percent, 25 indoors, or outdoors in groups less than 10 n Restaurants: Up to 25 percent capacity, 50 people indoors (6ft between parties outdoors per guidance) n Non-Critical manufacturing: Up to 25 percent capacity, 50 people n Offices: 25 percent, Remote work is strongly encouraged n Bars: Closed Limited Health Care Settings: 25 percent, 25 people n Critical and Non-Critical Retail: 50 percent with increased curbside pick-up, and delivery. Dedicated senior and at-risk hours encouraged. n Personal services: Up to 25 percent capacity, 25 people n Group sports: Virtual, or outdoors in groups of less than 10 n Indoor events: 25 percent, 50-person cap (6ft distancing between parties) n Outdoor events: 25 percent, 75-person cap (6ft distancing between parties) Said the health department, “Huerfano and Las Animas Counties have been successful in slowing the spread, and we need them to keep following public health protocols — like continuing to only interact with those they live with. We are not in the orange metrics according to our county numbers, but we will be operating in the orange. “Normally at this time of year, most of us are concerned with figuring out our New Year’s resolutions (that we probably won’t keep beyond the first week of January). But as every single person knows, 2020 was not a normal year, and this was not a normal New Year’s Eve.” Some very important things to remember into the New Year: 1) The pandemic is not over, keep taking appropriate precautions for yourself and others. (wear a mask, stay 6 feet apart, wash your hands) 2) The progress was made by working together, and we must continue to do this. 3) If we become complacent and stop doing our part, this downward trend can reverse VERY quickly, and our rates can begin to rise again. 4) After you receive your COVID-19 vaccination, please remember that: a. You are not instantly immune; it takes at least 45 days for body to develop immunity. b. You are still subject to current public health orders (i.e. wearing masks, socially distancing, etc.).

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