Jefferson County, Colo. – Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) has been notified that as of January 4, the county is being moved to Level Orange on the Dial Framework by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). This move was announced by Gov. Jared Polis late last week in response to the statewide 13-day downward trend in cases.
To learn more about what Level Orange means for Jeffco, including the differences in restrictions by category, visit CDPHE’s Dial webpage.
In addition, JCPH released the Third Amended PHO 20-009, effective on Jan. 1, 2021, which is more restrictive than the state’s Dial and limits gatherings further in Jefferson County. Under PHO 20-009:
- Indoor events are limited to 25% capacity or 25 people, calculated using the social distancing calculator, whichever is smaller.
- Outdoor events are limited to 25% capacity or 75 people, calculated using the social distancing calculator, whichever is smaller.
- Spectators at youth sporting events are prohibited.
“With the move to Level Orange, we are cautiously optimistic that our community will continue to see some of the positive trends we’ve seen since the slight bump after the Thanksgiving holiday, like a decreasing positivity rate and a decline in hospitalizations,” said Dr. Margaret Huffman, Director of Community Health Services at JCPH. “That said, we know this holiday season was pivotal. We are closely watching the data now to see if there will be a spike in cases and hospitalizations following our winter holidays to see what our next steps will be.”
The move to Level Orange will also have an important impact on businesses in the county. Jeffco was notified by CDPHE on Dec. 31, 2020, that our Five-Star Certification Program, which will allow certified businesses to operate one level higher than the county’s status, was approved.
Given the early elevation to Level Orange, CDPHE has stated certified businesses will not be able to take advantage of the Five-Star program and operate under Level Yellow until Jefferson County’s dashboard numbers have met the Level Orange requirements for 7 days, which include:
- Incident rate less than 350 per 100,000 people
- Percent positivity rate below 15%
- Hospitalizations decreasing or stable for more than 8 days in the preceding 14-day period.
Although Jefferson County was moved to Level Orange on Monday, the county’s incident rate remains greater than 350 per 100,000 people.
In the past two weeks, there have been 2,402 total cases of the virus in Jefferson County, or 412.0 per 100,000 residents (12/17-12/30). On Dec. 31, 2020, Jeffco’s hospitals were reporting 62% capacity. Additionally, Jefferson County’s two-week average test positivity rate is 5.6%.
“Jeffco’s businesses have been working hard since the beginning of the pandemic, and we’re hopeful the Five-Star Certification Program will offer some much-needed relief and opportunity,” said Jim Rada, Director of Environmental Health Services at JCPH. “We know we all are hoping for a return to more normalcy and routine in 2021. The Five-Star program is the latest in many recent steps toward a healthier Jeffco, such as increased testing capacity and the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine.”
In addition, there are important steps we all can take to lessen the spread of COVID-19:
- Wear a mask to protect yourself and others, even after you receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Remember that wearing a mask has been proven to greatly reduce the spread of the virus between individuals. Some early research has indicated that if you do contract the virus, masks could help reduce the dose, or how much of the virus is spread, which could lower the severity of the illness.
- Watch your distance. Keep 6 feet or more apart and avoid gatherings with people who do not live with you.
- Wash your hands often. Scrub for 20 seconds with soap and warm water. When using hand sanitizer, make sure to choose a product with 60% or higher alcohol content.
- Get tested and stay home if you’re sick. There are many free testing sites around Jeffco, including a large-scale test site at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds and a mobile testing van that travels to both Conifer and Evergreen. Wait times at the test sites are frequently less than 30 minutes.
- Be kind to your neighbors. Check in on one another and support your friends and loved ones, especially those who live alone or are homebound.
- Support local businesses. Keep them open by slowing the spread. You can also show your support by ordering takeout or delivery from your favorite restaurant, keeping memberships when possible or purchasing a gift card to a local retailer this holiday season.
To learn more about Jeffco’s place on the dial, you can visit www.jeffco.us/dial. Learn more about CDPHE’s Dial Framework, including guidance for the community and businesses under Level Orange. You can also refer to CDPHE’s Dial Public Health Order (PHO 20-36) for more details on Level Orange requirements.