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The Chaffee County Public Health (CCPH) report for Monday, June 1 contained some significant findings related to Colorado’s progress in combating the coronavirus pandemic known as COVID-19.

The Power of Social Distancing (Image by Taylor Sumners)

Colorado is still in the “Safer-at-Home” phase of this pandemic, and the state continues to recommend that everyone stay at home as much as possible. Existing guidance for businesses that can operate is available at covid19.colorado.gov/safer-at-home. The state added guidance for short-term rentals today, which goes into effect immediately. In addition, the state revised the guidelines for personal services and child care, which will go into effect on June 4.

Key findings from today’s report:

  • Mobility data for the state of Colorado show a continued decline in time spent at home. According to CCPH, this is likely reflecting the change from Governor Jared Polis’ “Stay-at-Home” order to “Safer at Home”.
  • The updated model findings, which cover the period through May 14, indicate that COVID-19 continues to decline in Colorado, but the declines have begun to slow.
  • Social distancing has been a key strategy to slow the spread of COVID-19. The extent the community is social distancing has dropped to 75 percent through May 14 as the entire state moved to “Safer-at-Home”, meaning the population is not maintaining the high levels of separateness that keep Colorado’s positive cases within manageable levels. The reproductive number is increasing.
  • Modeling projections that extend into the summer and through November 2020 provide a significant public caution, to keep the virus from surging. The models demonstrate a continuing need to maintain social distancing levels at least 65 percent as a general population; an unsustainable percentage as the state reopens. According to public health, the only way the state might maintain this average is if most people 60 years and older maintain the extremely high levels of social distancing (80 percent) as seen during the “Stay-at-Home” period. The weight of that public’s average would seem to be an unfair expectation of the state’s senior citizens.
  • If the general population, including younger demographics, won’t do their social distancing part, by mid-summer the state’s reopening could be in trouble. If the percentage of the population practicing social distancing standards dips below 45 percent, every state model predicts a surge in sick people in excess of hospital capacity. This is predicted even if social distancing includes mask-wearing, increased case detection and isolation, and higher levels of social distancing by all older adults.
  • As model after model have shown, increased mask-wearing will help control the COVID-19 epidemic.

With the knowledge of the latest modeling data, beginning today and through noon Wednesday June 3, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is also seeking feedback on the draft guidelines from today. Coloradans can review draft guidelines in the following areas:

Places of Worship Draft Guidance— Submit feedback using this online form.
Personal Recreation Draft Guidance— Submit feedback using this online form.
Outdoor Industry Draft Guidance— Submit feedback using this online form.

Colorado is still in the “Safer-at-Home” phase of this pandemic, and the state continues to recommend that everyone stay at home as much as possible. Existing guidance for businesses that can operate is available at covid19.colorado.gov/safer-at-home. The state added guidance for short-term rentals today, which goes into effect immediately. In addition, the state revised the guidelines for personal services and child care, which will go into effect June 4.

As Colorado continues Safer at Home, there are a number of criteria the state is considering when making decisions on what can be reopened safely.

  • What level of suppression of the virus has been achieved?
  • What is the ability to do testing and containment?
  • Will this decision put vulnerable populations at significantly greater risk?
  • Does the health care system have the capacity to handle a surge?
  • What’s the level of physical health risk vs. societal/economic/psychological benefit?
  • Is the policy sustainable?

Continue to stay up to date by visiting covid19.colorado.gov.