Colorado’s COVID-19 cases increase in multiple counties, prompting stricter restrictions levels

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FILE – In this May 27, 2020, file photo, skiers wear face coverings as they wait to board a lift at the reopening of Arapahoe Basin Ski Resort, which closed in mid-March to help in the effort to stop the spread of the new coronavirus in Keystone, Colo. Winter sports enthusiasts will encounter restrictions at resorts in the season ahead to accommodate COVID rules. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

DENVER (KDVR) — Many Colorado counties are experiencing an increase in COVID-19 cases, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). The rise in cases is triggering stricter restriction levels throughout the state.

La Plata and Mesa Counties, working to reduce COVID-19 cases, moved to higher restriction levels on Monday. Several Colorado counties will follow suit this week:

  • Adams County is moving to Safer at Home 3 on Wednesday
  • Arapahoe County is moving to Safer at Home 2 on Wednesday
  • Denver County is moving to Safer at Home 3 on Wednesday
  • Otero County is moving to Safer at Home 2 on Friday
  • Crowley County is moving to Safer at Home 2 on Friday
  • La Plata County moved to Safer at Home 2 on Monday
  • Mesa County moved to Safer at Home 1 on Monday

According to the state’s “dial,” which tracks the spread of the virus in each county, the Safer at Home designation has three levels; Level 3 is the highest-risk level before Stay at Home measures are enforced.

Personal gatherings are limited to 10 or fewer people from no more than two households in Every Safer at Home level, with various capacity restrictions for other activities, according to the CDPHE.

“We need everyone to stay vigilant. Colorado is experiencing a swift rise in cases right now that is worrisome,” said Jill Hunsaker Ryan, CDPHE’s executive director. “As we head into winter and spend more time indoors, the virus is going to be harder to suppress. The dial is designed for the long haul, in an attempt to control infections based on local conditions.” 

The Colorado COVID-19 dial includes five levels, from least to most restrictive:

  • Protect Our Neighbors – Careful: Local public health agencies are able to contain surges in cases and outbreaks through testing, case investigation, contact tracing, isolation, quarantine, site-specific closures and enforcement of public health orders. 
  • Safer at Home 1 – Cautious: Less restrictive than Safer at Home Level 2, this level is for counties with low virus transmission that have not yet achieved Protect Our Neighbors. 
  • Safer at Home 2 – Concern: The baseline. While we are all still safer at home, we are also able to practice greater social distancing in our great outdoors than in confined indoor spaces. 
  • Safer at Home 3 – High Risk: This is more restrictive than Safer at Home Level 2, for counties experiencing increased metrics. Action is needed, but Stay at Home may not be warranted. 
  • Stay at Home: Everyone is required to stay at home except for grocery shopping, exercise and necessary activities. Only critical businesses are open.

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