Boulder County Public Health: Rising COVID-19 cases could force more restrictions – Longmont Times-Call

As Boulder County recorded 68 coronavirus cases Monday, Boulder County Public Health announced that rising COVID-19 cases among county residents could result in the county facing more restrictions.

A news release from the health department said the county could be forced to move to Safer at Home Level 3 on the state’s dial, which would mean more restrictions on the number of people allowed in certain kinds of businesses and on the size of groups for gatherings and fitness activities.

There have been 187.4 new cases per 100,000 in the past 14 days, state data shows, putting the county in the “orange” zone. On Thursday, there were 135.7 new cases per 100,000 over 14 days.

The level 3 restrictions begin when a county’s rate of new cases is at 175 cases per 100,000. The percent positivity for Safer at Home Level 3 is between 10 and 15%. On Monday, Boulder County’s two-week average positivity is 4.1%, in the “green” zone.

The county has 14 days to reverse the trend, Boulder County Public Health spokesperson Chana Goussetis said.

The five-day average of new daily cases is 52.6, “which is higher than any other time except during the height of the surge of new cases among young adults,” the release states.

Safer at Home Level 3 guidelines reduce restaurant, office, retail and personal services capacity to 25%, or to 50 people. There is a 25-person limit for indoor events and 75 person-limit for outdoor events. Remote or hybrid learning is recommended for K-12 and higher education. There would be no group sports, gym or fitness indoors, and a 10-person limit outdoors. Senior facilities would be closed except for compassion visits.

“It’s no surprise that more Boulder County residents are testing positive for COVID-19 since we’re seeing statewide and national surges,” Jeff Zayach, Boulder County Public Health Executive Director stated in the release. “Unfortunately, this is pushing us toward the possibility of needing to restrict how many people can be in shared areas.”

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will decide whether or not the county will move levels following a discussion with Boulder County Public Health leadership, the release states.

Goussetis said the health department and CDPHE will discuss the best course of action, “particularly concerning possible gatherings for Halloween and the trend of new cases in the surrounding counties.”

“To be blunt, stay home as much as possible. Limit your Halloween activities to just your household. Do not go to any gatherings,” Zayach stated in the release. “We’re seeing transmission from multiple age groups and from people with and without symptoms. Staying home is the best thing we can do. If you have to go out, please social distance and wear a mask.”

Last month, Boulder County was also in danger of entering Safer at Home Level 3 due to a spike in cases among all age groups. There were more than 350 new cases per 100,000. The following week, the county lowered to the “orange” zone with 232.4 new cases per 100,000.

Boulder County’s 68 cases Monday follow 38 cases reported Sunday and 93 cases reported Saturday. The death toll remains at 85.

There are 46 individuals currently hospitalized, and 244 hospitalizations to date, data shows. There are 256 disease investigations in progress.

“We are hearing that local health care workers are exhausted,” Chris Campbell, Boulder County Public Health Emergency Manager stated in the release. “If more people require hospital care, our medical system may not have the staffing to adequately care from them.”

Data updated Monday shows 93,288 diagnostic tests have been administered in the county, and the five-day average percent of positive tests is 4.2.

With the fate of in-person learning hinging on the county’s safer at home level, Boulder Valley School District spokesperson Randy Barber said the district remains in close consultation with the public health department.

“Our plan always has us prepared to move to more restrictive health precautions, if necessitated by the situation with COVID-19 and public health orders,” he said. “As it has been from the beginning of the pandemic, we trust their expertise and will heed any recommendations they make.”

Barber said he believes the district’s current model, which has elementary school students in-person four days a week, is still considered a hybrid model.

Boulder Valley School District’s coronavirus dashboard shows seven active cases: two at Eisenhower Elementary School, one at Foothill Elementary School, one at Angevine Middle School, one at Southern Hills Middle School, one at Boulder High School and one at the district’s Education Center. There are symptomatic cases with test results pending at at Pioneer and Ryan elementary schools. There is one probable case each at Columbine and Douglass elementary schools.

St. Vrain Valley School District officials did not respond to questions about how the possible change in restrictions might affect its learning model.

St. Vrain Valley School District’s coronavirus dashboard shows there have been 90 cumulative cases, and 30 of those are active.

Among students, the dashboard lists the following cases: two at Alpine Elementary School, one at Erie Elementary School, two at Erie High School, two at Frederick High School, one at Mead High School, one at Rocky Mountain Elementary School, three at Silver Creek High School, one at Skyline High School, two at Sunset Middle School and four at Thunder Valley PK-8.

Among staff, the following cases are active: one at the Career Development Center, one at Erie High School, one at Longmont High School, one at Mead Elementary School, one at Mead High School, one at Silver Creek High School, one at Soaring Heights PK-8, three at Sunset Middle School and one at central administration.

The University of Colorado Boulder’s coronavirus dashboard is not updated Mondays. As of Friday, 1,133 individuals have tested positive from 6,240 on-campus diagnostic tests.

Data updated Monday shows that, of the county’s cases, 3,009 have been reported in Boulder and 1,296 have been reported in Longmont. There have been 342 cases in Lafayette, 222 in Louisville, 87 in Superior, 95 in Erie, 12 in Lyons, six in Nederland, and 320 in unincorporated Boulder County. Cases have been confirmed in seven people experiencing homelessness.

The rate of infection for Boulder residents is 2,826.5 per 100,000 people, data shows. In Longmont, the rate of infection is 1,350.1 per 100,000. In Lafayette, the rate is 1,181.3; in Louisville, the rate is 1,048.1; in Lyons, the rate is 580.8; in Erie, the rate is 844.4; in Superior, the rate is 663.2; and in unincorporated Boulder County, the rate is 720 per 100,000.

Statewide, there have been 97,300 positive or probable cases. There have been 2,226 deaths among the cases, and of those, there have been 2,082 deaths because of the coronavirus. There have been 8,658 people hospitalized. Of Colorado’s roughly 5.7 million population, 1,168,725 people have been tested for the virus.

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