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Counties prepare to take over authority of COVID-19 regulations April 16

Posted at 7:08 PM, Apr 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-08 21:18:36-04

DENVER — As the state readies to send control of COVID-19 rules back to the counties, commissioners and health departments will likely see divergent philosophies when it comes to regulations.

"We would have liked to see things continue a little bit longer with the Dial 3.0," Larimer County Commissioner Kristin Stephens said. "I think it would have been beneficial for the state to stay together and have those similar metrics and not have sort of a patchwork approach across the state."

Stephens said many of the state guidelines will likely stay in place until more vaccinations reach residents of Larimer County. But other commissioners said they will be headed in the opposite direction, quickly relaxing regulations.

"I do not expect to maintain CDPHE’s capacity restrictions for outdoor events, businesses, restaurants, social gatherings and similar circumstances," said Dwayne Smith, the director of the Elbert County Health Department. "We will most likely transition away from 'required' verbiage in favor of 'suggested' or 'encouraged' verbiage for capacity limits on indoor events and gatherings and guidance for schools."

Smith said Elbert County will still hold vaccination clinics and place and emphasis "on COVID-19 testing, isolation and quarantine support for affected individuals and families, and case investigation/contact tracing." But many of the regulations and capacity limits will go away, he said.

Some health directors and commissioners worry a patchwork of regulations across the state will set back the gains made against the coronavirus and variants appearing in the state.

"I think a consistent approach that went on through May would be more beneficial," said Dr. John Douglas, the executive director of the Tri-County Health Department. "Every county has neighbors."