On Friday, Chaffee County entered the "post-dial" phase of its COVID-19 response, as the county public health department announced a new public health order in response to the statewide "devolution" of the dial system implemented last fall.
The COVID-19 dial set color-coded levels per county based on the documented prevalence of COVID cases, with each level corresponding to a tiered system of restrictions.
While the devolved dial still exists for guidance, the new state public health order issued April 16 allows counties to implement their own regulations at the local level while maintaining limited requirements across the state.
"In anticipation of the new and scaled back statewide public health order, Chaffee County Public Health (CCPH), along with many stakeholders from our Leadership Roundtable, sector representatives, and medical community, have been working on a local public health order that takes into consideration virus transmission trends, vaccination rates, hospital capacity, and allowing for the majority of restrictions to be lifted while also strongly recommending that our county remain vigilant about wearing masks when appropriate, washing hands, maintaining physical distancing, staying home when sick, and getting tested when symptomatic," said Chaffee County Public Health director Andrea Carlstrom. "We hope this new local order allows all of us to enjoy the things we have been looking forward to for over a year now while learning to live our lives amidst a pandemic."
In a news release Friday afternoon, Carlstrom summarized the new amendment to Chaffee County Public Health Order 2020-08 as follows;
•Indoor event capacity shall be capped based on a six-foot (6’) social distancing requirement when considering the size of the venue. Maximum capacity for an indoor event shall be determined by utilizing the social distancing space calculator available at https://covid19.colorado.gov/distancing-calculator.
•Outdoor events held at venues with determinable boundaries shall be capped based on a three-foot (3’) social distancing requirement for the most-densely-populated portion of the venue in question.
•Outdoor events held at venues without fully-determinable boundaries shall be in accordance with the maximum capacities as set forth by the local government or municipality in which the event is held.
•Masks, except for exempted individuals and in certain settings, must be worn in indoor public spaces, regardless of how many people are present.
•If 85% or more of local or regional hospital bed capacity is reached due to COVID-19, CCPH will review opportunities for mitigation with a focus on the sectors of transmission rather than placing restrictions on all sectors.
•If Chaffee County reaches a 70% vaccination rate of the eligible county population, further lifting of restrictions will be considered. (For reference, Chaffee County is currently at 43.8%.)
Schools and school-related activities will continue to follow their specific guidance and requirements set forth by the state.
•CCPH recognizes the need for long-term planning for events and activities throughout the summer months. Because of the need for this consistency and continuity for event planning, the order is in effect and will continue to be in effect until midnight mountain time August 31, 2021, unless extended, rescinded, superseded, or amended in writing. The order is subject to amendment at any time provided the circumstances change. CCPH will review the current metrics and circumstances monthly in an effort to determine if such an amendment is necessary.