The “Yellow” island in central Colorado will grow even smaller as of Friday.
Fremont County announced on Wednesday, Dec. 2 that due to increasing COVID-19 case rates, test positivity, and hospitalizations, it is moving into the more restrictive Level Orange: High Risk on Dec. 4.
Chaffee County is girding for the move into Orange status as well on Friday, leaving the cluster of Gunnison, Saguache, and Huerfano counties remaining in Yellow status, with Hinsdale County still in Level Blue as of Dec. 2. The rest of the state, with the exception of Rio Blanco County (Level Green) and Dolores and Jackson counties (Yellow), has moved upward into Orange and Red categories on the COVID-19 dial. Colorado recently added Level Purple to the far end of the scale, denoting extreme risk.
Fremont County’s Department of Public Health and Environment (FCDPHE) and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) made the decision to put the county into Level Orange, which will remain in place for 30 days unless extended.
“With the onset of colder weather, driving us all indoors, we knew we would see a certain spike in cases,” said Fremont County Commissioner and Board of Health Chairman Debbie Bell. “With the holidays now upon us, our numbers are continuing to look even worse. We have to do what we can to protect our friends, our families, our neighbors, our citizens.”
As of Dec. 1, Fremont County’s COVID-19 two-week cumulative incidence rate is 2,258, positivity rate is 11.3 percent with a stable hospitalization rate for 10 days. County officials have been working with CDPHE and state officials on mitigation efforts for several weeks in an attempt to protect the community without further restricting businesses.
“We do know these restrictions place an additional burden on our businesses and our community,” Bell said. “We have taken that into consideration when moving to Orange instead of Red, which is much more restrictive. We deeply appreciate everyone’s continued efforts and cooperation in helping slow the spread of this deadly virus.”
The main difference between Safer at Home Level Yellow: Concern and Safer at Home Level Orange: High Risk is the following:
- Maximum attendees at indoor worship services are reduced from 100 to 50 people or 25 percent capacity, whichever is fewer.
- Maximum attendees at gyms are reduced from 50 to 25 people or 25 percent capacity whichever is fewer.
- Maximum attendees at restaurants reduced from 50 to 25 percent capacity or 50 people, whichever is fewer.
- Maximum participants for group sports changes to virtual, or outdoors in groups less than 10. Maximum attendees for indoor events reduced from 100 to 50 people or 25 recent capacity whichever is fewer.
- Maximum attendees for outdoor events reduced from 175 to 75 people or 25 percent capacity whichever fewer.
- Personal gathering size remains at 10 people from no more than two households.
- Organized recreational, league sports, and student athletics are suspended until the expiration of the FCDPHE amended and extended public health order. This includes organized recreational, league sports, and student athletic events and practices.
- Restaurants and bars permitted to operate under CDPHE Order 20-36 must stop alcohol beverage sales at 10 p.m.
- All non-critical office-based businesses are encouraged to further increase remote work options and reduce in-person work to the greatest extent possible.
- Gatherings must follow all public health laws and orders concerning face coverings and must comply with social distancing requirements whenever possible.
- In the event that the Fremont County Health Department determines that an outbreak of COVID-19 is traceable to a particular business, the business may be required to close for up to 72 hours to clean and disinfect facilities and test employees.
- If the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, or local municipalities have more stringent requirements in place, the more stringent requirement or standard applies.
- To help slow the spread, remember to practice the 3Ws: Wear your mask, wash your hands, and watch your distance.
For more information about Colorado’s current level and case counts, visit the state’s COVID-19 dial dashboard at https://covid19.colorado.gov/data/covid-19-dial.
Fremont County Department of Public Health and Environment encourages businesses or anyone else who has questions to contact the department at 719-276-7450 Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m.-5 p.m. for guidance and resources.