In the midst of the fourth wave of COVID-19, several key developments have taken place over the past couple of weeks related to state and local public health orders, incidence trends, and vaccination rates.
On Sunday, May 2nd, Governor Jared Polis announced that he amended and extended the statewide mask Executive Order D 2021 095 by 30 days as Colorado continues to work towards increasing vaccinations.
The indoor mask order remains in effect for all schools statewide and certain other settings.
For counties with greater than 35 cases per 100,000 people, the indoor mask order applies to groups of ten or more unvaccinated people indoors and there remains no outdoor mask order.
This order is also further amended to allow indoor spaces where more than 10 people are present to go without masks, so long as at least 80 percent of those individuals are fully vaccinated.
Other directives from the last Executive Order remain in effect.
Mask-wearing continues to be required in all counties in schools (including extracurricular activities), child care centers, indoor children’s camps, public-facing state government facilities, congregate care facilities, prisons, jails, emergency medical and other healthcare settings, and personal services and limited healthcare settings as defined by state Public Health Order 20-38.
In counties with one week disease incidence rates in excess of 35 per 100,000, masks must also be worn in all public indoor spaces when 10 or more unvaccinated individuals or individuals of unknown vaccination status are present, except in situations that meet the requirements of the new amendment.
In counties with one week disease incidence rates less than 35 per 100,000 (Level Green), mask wearing is not required if there are 10 or more people who are unvaccinated or whose vaccination status is unknown.
In addition, for restaurants, once 85 percent of the restaurant employees have been fully vaccinated, the restaurant employees are no longer required to wear face coverings.
Colorado Public Health Order 20-38 is anticipated to expire on May 15.
In Chaffee County, masks are required in all indoor public places, regardless of percent vaccinated and number of people in the setting and will most likely be through the end of May when the order will be assessed.
In the upcoming days, Chaffee County will explore whether it is agreeable to the new section of the statewide order that gives restaurant employees discretion on wearing masks if at least 85 percent are vaccinated. Counties can be more restrictive in their orders compared to the state’s.
The local public health order, 2020–08 – Amendment 17, is in effect through August 31, 2021 and will be reviewed by Chaffee County Public Health, Board of Health, and Leadership Roundtable on a regular basis to align it with trends and data. Amendments will likely be made to best align with sector subject-matter expertise.
Chaffee County has recently seen an uptick of positive COVID-19 cases. Of those, there has been an increase in the school aged population but most likely from out of school activities. While Chaffee County Public Health has a 7-day incidence rate of 27, in order to reach the statewide threshold to reduce restrictions, Chaffee County would need no more than 7 cases in 7 days to meet the Level Green criteria.
In addition, several breakthrough cases have been detected in fully vaccinated adults.
The Chaffee County Jail and Buena Vista Correctional Complex have each experienced recent outbreaks involving inmates and staff and have taken measures recommended and required by public health.
Chaffee County Public Health and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment have been working with these institutions to mitigate the situation as best as possible.
There has been no severe illness reported from cases that are fully vaccinated. Counties that have high vaccination rates are seeing a correlation with low incidence rates.
“It is expected that very soon, young people ages 12-15 will be approved to receive the Pfizer vaccine.
“CCPH is ready to vaccinate them so that as many households as possible are protected and can enjoy this summer more “normal” than last summer.
“We are at a critical point in our pandemic response that while many are celebrating the lifting of restrictions, we still must promote getting fully vaccinated when eligible so that we don’t ever have to move to a more restrictive environment again.
“Vaccines are proven to prevent severe illness from COVID-19. We understand that the varying state and local public health orders can be confusing, so we will be publishing a Frequently Asked Questions document, as well as more clarifying messaging, as amendments and extensions are made both at a local and state level,” Andrea Carlstrom, Chaffee County Public Health Director said.
As of today, 58.5 percent of eligible populations have received one shot and 52.3 percent are up to date. The state’s goal set out for counties is to reach 75 percent by July 4.
Chaffee County has ample vaccine supplies to vaccinate everyone who is eligible, essentially anybody who is 16 and older.
To schedule a vaccination appointment with Chaffee County Public Health call 719-539-4510. Log on to https://docs.google.com/document/d/1L4_uUTab7QMDWzsCSExz_fc3cxLl8upZNi4gvrtFilA/edit?usp=sharing for a current vaccine provider list.
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