Larimer County submits mitigation plan to suppress COVID-19 outbreak, maintain variances

Posted at 7:39 PM, Jul 20, 2020

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Larimer County has submitted a plan to mitigate the recent spike in COVID-19 cases linked to 4th of July gatherings, according to officials.

The county put forward a plan, still in review by the state, to increase social distancing education, COVID-19 testing, and rules enforcement in order to keep the variances granted by the state health department.

"We have been asking our community to really take this seriously," explained Katie O'Donnell, spokesperson for the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment. "We have two weeks to catch up and show that we can stabilize our case counts, is really the big thing."

The Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE) acknowledged the mitigation plan by the county and said it will review cases over the next two weeks to see if COVID-19 cases decline.

"it is really the time for our businesses and residents to step up," O'Donnell said.

The state raised alarms over Larimer County after it surpassed the daily number of cases allowed in its variance. The county has surpassed that number several times in the past week. On Friday, officials with the state health department requested a mitigation plan from the county by Monday at noon.

"We did meet the deadline. Our understanding is that we then move to a two-week mitigation plan," said O'Donnell. "They have to decide whether our mitigation plan was sufficient or not."

Businesses have worked diligently in Fort Collins, Larimer County's biggest city, to adjust to the social distancing policies and variances. A shutdown again might mean many would have to close for good.

"We are doing good given the conditions, but it is not sustainable long-term," said Dwight Hall, the president of CopperSmith's Pub and Brew downtown. "We are only going to get through this if we pull together."

Hall says he has done everything he can to follow the guidelines, and it is up to every resident to follow the guidelines as well.

"I am very supportive of following those rules because I think we all want to get through this. And that seems to be the path forward."