DENVER (KDVR) — The Colorado Association of Local Public Health Officials (CALPHO) is urging the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to act according to the COVID-19 Dial and issue stronger measures as cases and hospitalizations continue to rise at an alarming rate.
CALPHO is made up of 53 local public health agencies serving the seven-county Denver metro area, including Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, and Jefferson counties.
In the letter, which was sent to CDPHE on Thursday, Nov. 6, CALPHO said that delaying protocol on the COVID-19 dial could reduce the value of additional restrictions.
“While we appreciate the latitude in additional timing that CDPHE has provided to counties whose metrics exceed their Level on the Dial, we are concerned that with the steep acceleration of cases and hospitalizations, these delays will reduce the value of the additional restrictions provided in the higher level, essentially rendering them “too little, too late”.
Currently, Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, and Jefferson counties are in a Level Orange on the COVID-19 dial. Douglas County is at a Level yellow. Each of the seven counties have reached Stay at Home levels for at least one category on the dial.
“Contract(sic) tracing and investigation capacity is tapped. Hospitalization rates are at an all-time high since the pandemic began and are projected to exceed capacity by year’s end. “
Numbers released on Tuesday show the state was seven COVID-19 cases away from the highest level ever of COVID-19 confirmed and suspected hospital patients combined, which was 1270. The highest ever was April 9, which was 1277.
“We strongly encourage you to act according to the timelines and mechanisms identified within the PH Order and Dial Policy Framework.”
During a press conference on Monday, Governor Jared Polis extended the state’s mask mandate an extra 30 days. He also said Coloradans need to do the following: wear a mask, stay socially distant, wash your hands, and avoid social gatherings.
Statement from CDPHE:
CDPHE is working closely with counties on their mitigation plans. Local public health agencies can enact guidance that is stricter than the dial, and they do not need the state’s approval to do that. They have always had the ability to go to a traditional Stay at
Home model, and we are here to support them in that decision. The most important things for Colroadans to do right now only interact with members of their household, wear masks, physically distance and follow all public health guidance from the state and their local jurisdiction.
Statement from Conor Cahill, a spokesperson for the governor:
“For Colorado to get through this pandemic and come out stronger and more resilient, we all need to do our part, that means local, state, and federal governments along with people at home. We created the dial system because this virus is impacting communities in a different way, what is happening in Denver county is different than Jackson county. It’s important to remember that local jurisdictions have always had the ability to enact more restrictive policies than those outlined in the dial and we need to trust that they will do what to protect the health and safety of their residents. However, if there comes a time where we could lose lives due to lack of medical capacity the Governor will not hesitate to take statewide action.”