County Must Take Steps to Suppress Cases or Risk Losing Local Variance
Jefferson County, Colo. – Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) today issued Public Health Order 20-007, which requires venues hosting large events to provide a plan outlining how they will adhere to the state’s Safer-at-Home and in the Vast, Great Outdoors requirements to help ensure health and safety of staff and attendees. Specifically, venues holding events with more than one designated activity, which would permit more than 100 people inside or 175 people outside, must submit a plan to JCPH and receive approval in writing prior to such events taking place. The Order is effective at 5:00 p.m. on July 20, 2020 through midnight on August 19, 2020 unless amended or extended.
“Jefferson County has been alerted that we are close to being out of compliance with our local variance previously approved by CDPHE,” said Dr. Mark B. Johnson, Executive Director at JCPH. “Coloradans are now required to wear face coverings in public, and today’s Order is one more piece of a comprehensive mitigation plan that we are preparing to help slow the spread in Jeffco as quickly as possible. We must take swift, strategic action now to help keep our cases below the permitted threshold, so we do not have to take giant steps backwards in our county’s recovery efforts.”
As cases accelerate across the state, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) is requiring counties who have fallen out — or those who are close to falling out — of compliance with local variances because they have higher levels of the virus than permitted to take urgent mitigation steps or risk losing their variances. When Jefferson County’s first variance request was approved, we were given a threshold limit of 580 cases for a two week period. Over the past two weeks (July 5-18), Jefferson County had 486 total cases.
“Having our local variance revoked would be detrimental to our residents and local businesses,” Johnson said. “In addition to requiring plans for large gatherings, we need residents to take this very seriously and do their part to help keep our cases down — wear a mask in when in public, stay 6 feet away from others who don’t live in your home, wash your hands frequently and get tested and isolate if you have symptoms of COVID-19.”
Some local governments have variances, or different rules from the state, because they could demonstrate progress in containing the spread of COVID-19. Jefferson County previously received approval of a variance in early June, which allowed more lenient capacity limits for things like group gatherings, event centers, places of worship, malls, brewpubs and distilleries and other venues. Although Jefferson County has submitted a second variance request, CDPHE has since put a two-week pause on reviewing variance submissions due to a rise in COVID-19 cases. Learn more about current local requirements at www.jeffco.us/safer-at-home.
To view Public Health Order 20-007, please click here.
About Preventing the Spread of COVID-19
Overwhelming evidence shows that the virus that causes COVID-19 is transmitted by droplets, including microscopic droplets, or aerosols. Therefore, anything we can do to keep spit, saliva, snot, phlegm and moist breath from traveling from an infected individual to a susceptible individual will help decrease spread. There are three commonly accepted ways of doing this: increasing distance between a person with the virus and another person, putting barriers between the faces of the two people, and cleaning any objects on which the person with the virus may have deposited droplets. That’s why guidance from public health includes increasing social (physical) distancing; using masks, face shields, Plexiglas barriers, etc.; and practicing personal and communal hygiene. If we can accomplish these three interventions of separation and cleanliness, we can greatly limit the spread of this virus.
About Jefferson County Public Health
Public health is what we as a society do collectively to prevent illness and premature death and promote health in our neighborhoods and communities. Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) is a nationally accredited health department committed to promoting and protecting health across the lifespan for all people through prevention, education and partnerships. To learn more about JCPH visit https://www.jeffco.us/public-health. You can also follow JCPH on Twitter @JeffcoPH, Instagram @JeffcoPH and Facebook @jeffcopublichealth.