JCPH Issues Local Public Health Order to Lead County Through Recovery
County part of Denver Metro Area regional approach to keep residents safe while gradually reopening
Jefferson County, Colo. – Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) today (April 13) issued a new public health order (PHO 21-001) to help guide the county through the recovery phase of the COVID-19 pandemic and into a full reopening. The order was issued in anticipation of the State of Colorado dissolving Executive Order PHO 20-36 and the Dial 3.0 this week, with counties expected to implement their own tailored strategies to meet their community’s needs. JCPH’s PHO 21-001 is effective at the time the state’s order is rescinded, which is expected on April 16, and is in effect until August 15.
“We have been working very closely with other local public health leaders in the Denver Metro Area, which encompasses about 60% of the state’s population, as well as county leaders for the past several weeks to determine how to best move forward,” said Dr. Dawn Comstock, executive director of JCPH. “We are confident this brief phased approach will allow our community to work to get our recent increase in COVID-19 transmission back under control, while we race to quickly vaccinate as many people as we can and prevent another surge driven by more-contagious variants. At the same time, our local businesses can better plan for the near future.”
Recently, Jefferson County has seen increases in its COVID-19 seven-day case incidence rate and test positivity rate. During April 5-11, there were 891 cases of COVID-19 (152.8 per 100,000) in Jefferson County, and the test positivity rate during the same time period was 5.0%. The Colorado School of Public Health Modeling Team advising the Governor has concluded that delaying policy changes in Colorado until mid-May will prevent large numbers of deaths and hospitalizations.
Under the new PHO 21-001, there are two phases to reopening:
- Phase 1 – Moving Toward a Full Reopening (April 16-May 15): Businesses and individuals can operate under Dial 3.0’s Level Blue capacity limits and simplified mitigation requirements for 30 days. There will be no movement during this 30-day period. Review the order for specific mitigation requirements and capacity limits for businesses and activities.
- Phase 2 – Observation Period (May 16-August 15): Jefferson County, along with other Metro Denver counties, will move to a new Level on the Dial — Level Clear — which has no restrictions. In Level Clear, businesses will operate at 100 percent capacity with no mitigation requirements, although indoor mask requirements may still apply. During the observation period, rather than focusing on incidence rates or test positivity rates, JCPH will closely monitor hospitalizations, a health metric indicative of severity of COVID-19 infections. It is expected that by late May vaccination coverage should be sufficient to control COVID-19 transmission in Jeffco. However, if needed, JCPH can apply capacity limits based on hospitalization rates as described in the order.
With PHO 21-001, the county’s Five-Star Certification Program for businesses is suspended. All businesses in Jefferson County, including those certified under the program, must operate under the simplified Level Blue capacity limits and mitigation requirements. If at any point Jeffco has to return to a higher Dial Level, Five-Star businesses would be permitted to operate at one level lower on the Dial.
“It’s too soon to completely abandon all COVID-19 transmission prevention measures. Jeffco residents who are not yet vaccinated are still at risk and should continue to Be COVID Smart. However, we can now chart a sound path forward combining these proven COVID-19 mitigation strategies, our own local Jeffco data and a deep knowledge of our community’s unique needs,” Dr. Comstock said. “We’re confident this collaborative approach across the Denver Metro Area, in tandem with a unified race to get more people vaccinated, will help us avoid a fourth surge during this critical time. If we can work together and be patient just a bit longer, we may now only be about one month away from the finish line.”
JCPH’s local mask order, PHO 20-008, remains in effect and all residents and visitors in Jefferson County must continue to wear a mask in indoor public spaces when 6 ft. distancing cannot be maintained from non-household members. In areas where the statewide mask order is more restrictive, individuals must follow those requirements.
Review the full public health order as well as a table outlining capacity limits for various businesses and activities under the simplified Level Blue. You can also find answers to frequently asked questions and more at www.jeffco.us/4047/Dial-Status. For information about JCPH’s local mask order, COVID-19 data, testing locations and vaccination information, visit www.jeffco.us/coronavirus.