On Wednesday, June 24 the second amended public health order from the Las Animas Huerfano County District Health Department went into effect. This order continues the relaxation of some restrictions put in place due to COVID-19.

Currently, the health department has recorded eight cases of COVID-19 in Las Animas County and four cases in Huerfano County. The department has recorded cases in both men and women and in an age range from toddler to a person in their 80s.  

Statewide in Colorado as of Thursday, June 25, there have been 31,155 documented cases, 5,375 hospitalizations, 1,457 deaths due to COVID-19 and have tested 293,284 people.

“There is clear evidence that some individuals who contract the COVID-19 virus have no symptoms or have mild symptoms, which means they may not be aware they carry the virus,” wrote the health department in it’s order. “Because even people without symptoms can transmit the disease, and because evidence shows the disease is easily spread, gatherings promote transmission of COVID-19.”

Yet, the health department will continue to relax some public restrictions.

Said the department, “Continuing the relaxation of at least some of the restrictions in the current orders can be and is consistent with protecting the public health. The scientific evidence also shows that at this stage of the emergency, it is critical to carefully re-open the counties in phases to protect the most vulnerable and to prevent Colorado’s health care systems from being overwhelmed, but to also allow a gradual return to normal activities.

“One proven way to slow the transmission is to limit interactions among people to the greatest extent practicable and increase social distance between people in the work environment. This order helps continue to carefully re-open each county’s economy, yet preserve the welfare of our residents by reducing the spread of the disease in our communities and our workplaces and preserving critical emergency and healthcare capacity in the state.”

Multiple sources of data show that COVID-19 transmission and the use of healthcare due to COVID-19 have leveled off in Colorado. The work to “flatten the curve” appears to be succeeding, said the health department.

The updated order allows for the limited opening of bars and allows for the celebration of “life rites,” such as wedding ceremonies, graduation ceremonies and funerals, and other religious rites at 50 percent capacity and with strict compliance of social distancing requirements for employees and any attendees.

Even with the lifting of restrictions, the health department is still encouraging county residents to stay home and socially distance as much as possible and to wear non-medical cloth masks whenever out in public.

“Employers and operators of places of public accommodation those authorized on their behalf, shall have discretion to deny admittance or service and require the removal of any individual who fails to wear a mask,” reads the current order.

The complete order is available at www.thechronicle-news.com.

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