La Plata County will see slightly more restrictive COVID-19 measures starting Friday morning in response to rising case numbers.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment plans to move the county to Level Yellow, or “concern,” on the state’s six-tier COVID-19 response dial. The designation requires adjustments for large establishments, group sports, events and alcohol service.
“After weeks of lower metrics, La Plata County is seeing a rise in cases and test positivity rates, which can be attributed in part to indoor social gatherings,” said Liane Jollon, executive director at San Juan Basin Public Health, in a news release Thursday.
La Plata County reported 2,820 COVID-19 cumulative cases as of Wednesday, according to the SJBPH data dashboard.
Its seven-day average of cases controlled for population, or the seven-day case incidence rate, was 158 cases per 100,000 residents as of Thursday, the news release said.
By comparison, the incidence rate was less than 100 cases per 100,000 as of Feb. 6, which qualified the county for the less-restrictive Level Blue, “caution.” Archuleta County remains at Level Blue.
Under the Level Yellow designation, some notable changes include:
High risk populations are advised to stay home.Offices remain at 50% capacity, but remote work is strongly encouraged.Group sports and camps move from a 50-person maximum per activity to a 25-person maximum per activity. Last call for alcohol service moves from midnight to 11 p.m.Indoor and outdoor events remain at 50% capacity, with spacing requirements. The maximum capacity is 100 people indoors and 175 people outdoors.Restaurant and retail remain at 50% capacity. A complete list of capacity restrictions is available on the CDPHE website.
Five-Star certified establishments in Level Yellow counties are not allowed to operate under the Level Blue protocols until the state reaches its goal of vaccinating 70% of the 70-and-older population, the news release said.
The state vaccinated about 35% of people ages 70 to 79 and 15% of people ages 80 and older as of Wednesday, according to CDPHE.
CDPHE changed its COVID-19 response dial in early February to make the dial more responsive to local conditions.
SJPBH recommended businesses and schools know the restrictions at each level, especially for event planning. Restrictions are likely to change more quickly under Colorado’s new dial framework, the release said.
“Our communities have demonstrated we can be successful in fighting COVID-19,” Jollon said. “We must continue to practice good public health practices and avoid large gatherings while vaccine is being distributed to vulnerable members of our communities.”
SJBPH recommended following public health practices, such as wearing face masks, maintaining social distancing, washing hands and avoiding nonessential indoor spaces.