JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. – Jefferson County is among three counties tightening restrictions Wednesday as the novel coronavirus continues to spread rapidly across Colorado.
Jefferson County Public Health was informed Wednesday it would be moved back to the Safer at Home – High Risk level on the state’s COVID-19 dial as cases, hospitalizations and the testing positivity rate have all continued to increase at an alarming pace.
Safer at Home – High Risk (previously known as Safer at Home - Level 3) cuts restaurant capacity to 25%, along with 25% capacity limits at offices and retail, places of worship and non-critical manufacturing facilities. Gyms and fitness centers are also subject to the capacity rules, along with indoor events, outdoor events and outdoor guided services. Indoor events can have up to 50 people, if that's less than 25% capacity. Outdoor events can host 75 people, or 25% capacity, whichever is fewer.
The new restrictions will go into effect on Monday, Nov. 9 at 5 p.m.
Over the past two weeks, there have been 2,513 total cases of the virus in Jefferson County or 431 per 100,000 residents, according to Jefferson County Public Health officials. Hospitalizations over the same time period – from Oct. 20 through Nov. 2 – have also increased by more than 75% across the region, they said. The county’s positivity rate is 7.7%
Safer at Home levels begin at 175 cases per 100,000 people and anything above 350 cases per 100,000 people qualifies for a stay-at-home phase, according to the state’s public health COVID-19 dial.
“We were hoping we could avoid these new restrictions, but unfortunately cases have continued to increase in Jeffco and across the state. At the same time, we recognize that this has been such a long event, and we are all experiencing different levels of exhaustion,” said Dr. Margaret Huffman, director of Community Health Services at JCPH. “It’s important to remember all the reasons we have been working so hard to keep ourselves, loved ones and community healthy. Whether it’s to be able to enjoy celebrations together sooner, to protect our healthcare workers who are coping with burnout, or to help keep our schools and favorite businesses open, we have so many reasons to pull together to save lives.”
Jefferson County Public Health continues to urge its residents to wear a mask, maintain proper social distance of at least 6 feet, avoid gatherings with people who do not live in your household and observe proper hygiene by washing your hands for 20 seconds.
Testing is recommended for those who are experiencing symptoms across the county’s many free testing sites, and those who are feeling ill are advised to stay home and quarantine for 14 days.
In addition to Jefferson County, Boulder County implemented Safer at Home – High Risk restrictions and shortly after Jefferson County made the announcement, the City and County of Broomfield said it would be doing the same.
State officials in recent weeks — including on Wednesday — have warned Coloradans about the rising cases and hospitalizations, saying Colorado could exceed ICU capacity through the winter holidays if current trends hold.