Rising COVID-19 Numbers Jeopardize Larimer County’s Safer at Home Level 2 Status
Larimer County Health Department issues an Emergency Public Health Order to help suppress the virus and maintain hospital capacity for care
In response to recent increases in COVID-19 case rates, test positivity and hospitalizations, the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment (LCDHE) is implementing critical measures designed to slow the spread of the virus in Larimer County.
The Emergency Public Health Order, which goes into effect at 11 p.m. Friday, November 13, 2020, requires the following changes for Larimer County residents and businesses:
- Indoor dining is limited to a maximum of eight people per table. Residents are encouraged to have no more than two households per table. Restaurants are still required to follow all other State of Colorado COVID-19 Dial Level Yellow requirements.
- No food or beverage service at bars. Customers may not stand or sit at bar. Tableside service is allowed.
- Once the capacity for restaurants and bars is met, reservations are required. No indoor waiting areas for restaurants or bars.
- Restaurants and bars are now required to collect contact information for customers and provide LCDHE with that information weekly at larimer.org/health.
- Sports and gyms:
- Organized recreational and league sports are limited to 2 spectators per player with no more than 50% of capacity, up to 50 spectators in indoor facilities and 175 in outdoor facilities.
- Gyms are required to provide attendance for classes that take place in their facility. This includes any class operated with 5 or more people. These attendance lists must be submitted at larimer.org/health and need to be completed weekly.
There is substantial evidence of a significant increase in the continued spread of COVID-19 throughout Larimer County. As of November 13, 2020, Larimer County has a two-week incidence rate of 583/100,000 population, and a two-week test positivity rate of 10.3%. This current incidence rate is significantly higher than on September 16, 2020 where the incidence rate was at 74/100,000 population, and a test positivity rate of 2.4%. Also, COVID-19 hospitalizations in Larimer County have increased to a level that hasn’t been observed since very early in the pandemic.
“The most important thing people can do right now to help our nurses, doctors and our hospitals is to take precautions – wear masks, wash hands, watch your distance around others, and avoid large gatherings of people,” says Kevin Unger, president and CEO of UCHealth Northern Colorado Region. “Most importantly, please isolate yourself even for minor symptoms of COVID-19 to avoid transmitting the virus to others. We really need everyone to take this seriously.”
The County currently sits at Safer at Home Level Yellow (2) of Colorado’s Dial Framework. A retreat to Level Orange (3) would trigger a range of new restrictions, including tighter capacity limits on offices, businesses, restaurants and houses of worship; group sports, gyms and bars, and for events.
“We ask for the community’s continued support as we fight through the COVID pandemic. Please keep yourself, your families, members of your community and our health care workers safe by reducing the spread of COVID-19. Spending the holidays with your immediate family, those who are living in your home, wearing masks and keeping socially distanced when in the community are the best strategies we can adapt,” says Margo Karsten, President of the Banner Health Western region. “As the positivity rate in Colorado rises, so does the risk to our health care workers who are members of the community. They are also our community’s most important asset during this pandemic.”
“Right now we need to wear masks and follow these protocols in order to keep our businesses open and our hospital beds available,” says Larimer County Commissioner Steve Johnson. “We want our hospitals to be able to continue to provide high quality care, and to do so we need to be diligent in protecting our community from this virus.”
Information about COVID-19 is constantly changing, and the public health response adjusts as more is learned about this virus. While there is plenty of news and media information available, LCDHE is encouraging Larimer County residents to view the latest credible information on COVID-19 at www.larimer.org/coronavirus or www.CDC.gov/coronavirus. Additionally, residents are encouraged to follow LCDHE’s Facebook and Twitter accounts at @LarimerHealth.