On Tuesday, Sept. 15, the State of Colorado and Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) are launching a new system that will provide guidance for communities as they open or close schools, bars and businesses.
The new tool is a dial, which is accessible on the state’s dashboard at https://covid19.colorado.gov/data.
Local public health agencies weighed in on the particulars of the tool, as to make it more user-friendly.
The goal was to develop an accessible platform that caters to all counties and variances. If they so wish, counties can form regional collaboratives, which means metrics will be measured by the region versus the county.
The dial utilizes the following five, color-coded levels:
1. Protect Our Neighbors (green)
2. Safer at Home 1 - Cautious (blue)
3. Safer at Home 2 - Concern (yellow)
4. Safer at Home 3 - High Risk (orange)
5. Stay at Home (red)
The dial will provide guidance on how to move between the different levels. The color level system is based on the following metrics, which will be updated every Wednesday:
• Number of new COVID-19 cases.
• Sufficient testing to capture the level of virus transmission.
• Whether hospitalizations are increasing, stable or declining.
In order to qualify for a less restrictive level, counties or regions must meet and sustain all three metrics for two weeks. If a county/region is out of compliance with any of the metrics for two weeks, that county/region must move to a more restrictive level. However, counties will have a two-week window to turn the metrics around and will have an opportunity to consult with CDPHE before a transition is made.
To better understand the dial, please note the following:
• It will eventually link to Chaffee County’s local dashboard.
• The display will indicate where each county/region is. The dial will change as the metrics shift.
• In Level 1 and Level 2 of Safer at Home, site specific variances will be considered if approved by the local public health agency and CDPHE.
In order to move to a less restrictive level, Chaffee County will need to meet all metrics. Chaffee County Public Health and county leaders will then have to submit an application to CDPHE. The application process will be similar to the variance process that has been utilized until now.
As of Tuesday, Sept. 15, Chaffee County is in Level 2 of Safer at Home. If the county’s stable environment continues, our county will be eligible to apply for a less restrictive environment the beginning of October. However, there’s a chance that county leadership may decide to not move in that direction.
“We’re extremely excited and encouraged that the state has launched this new and improved data dashboard, which will include Chaffee County data. However, we caution that there could be some minor discrepancies between our local dashboard and the state’s dashboard,” said CCPH Director Andrea Carlstrom.
“Differences may occur due to the timing of positive case reports and tracking of all tests being conducted in the county, including rapid and serological tests. The release of results from outbreak investigations may also play a factor. CCPH will do its best to reconcile any differences and provide reasons for the differences. We appreciate everyone’s patience as this gets rolled out.”
CCPH will take a coordinated, collaborative approach on its response to the dial and will work with county stakeholders to make decisions together. For questions that may arise about Chaffee County’s current level, contact Andrea Carlstrom at firstname.lastname@example.org.