On Tuesday, Arapahoe County’s rate of two-week cumulative COVID cases officially moved into Level Orange on the state’s COVID dial dashboard for the first time in months, starting the clock for certified Five-Star Partners to begin operating at Level Yellow capacity restrictions.
Since then, Arapahoe County’s numbers have improved across the board. Our COVID case rates are now in Orange, and our positivity and hospitalization rates have been in Level Yellow for a few weeks.
The case rate flip to Orange means that, should these numbers remain where they are, or continue to improve, the County will be Orange or better in all categories. Although County businesses have been operating in Orange for the past month, the recent improvements mean that businesses that have received Five-Star Certification would be immediately able to operate at Level Yellow restrictions once the County maintains this metric for seven days. In the case of restaurants, for example, being in Level Yellow versus Orange is the difference between 25% and 50% capacity limits.
“We’re very pleased to see our COVID numbers decrease so significantly over the past month,” said Arapahoe County Board Chair Nancy Jackson. “We urge everyone to continue using all the anti-COVID best practices we’ve been promoting since last year. Along with the distribution of the new vaccines, these actions are helping bring the end of the pandemic closer every day.”
In a related development, the state is preparing to unveil “Dial 2.0,” an update to the dashboard system that attempts to provide better balance between COVID trends and economic needs. Among the primary changes under this system, the details of which are still being finalized, are changing the evaluation time period from 14 days to seven days for all metrics; lowering the benchmark testing positivity rates in the Yellow and Orange categories; altering the case incidence rates across all categories; and eliminating the requirement for counties to submit mitigation plans to the state. What this means for Arapahoe County businesses is still unclear; we’ll be watching the state’s website for more information and provide updates once we learn more.
Governor Polis extended an Executive Order directing individuals in Colorado to wear a medical or non-medical face covering due to the presence of COVID-19 for another 30 days.