Jefferson County, Colo. – Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH), at the direction of the Jefferson County Board of Health, today issued a new Public Health Order 20-008 (PHO 20-008) that requires everyone in Jeffco ages 11 and older to wear a mask or cloth face covering when in public settings — both indoors and outdoors — when unable to maintain 6 foot social distancing. Currently, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s (CDPHE) mask order primarily applies to indoor settings. PHO 20-008 seeks to further protect our residents by requiring use of face coverings in outdoor settings as well. PHO 20-008 is effective July 24 at midnight until further notice.
“After an extensive discussion during our Board of Health meeting held on July 21, which included public comment from community members, the Board unanimously agreed it was important to implement a local mask order that best protects our residents based on the science and evidence currently available to us,” said Greg Deranleau, President of the Jefferson County Board of Health. “We know there is great benefit to wearing a mask outdoors when it’s difficult to keep 6 foot distance between yourself and others who don’t live with you, and we want this prevention strategy to be as effective as possible. Mandating masks outdoors is also consistent with the requirements set by other local public health agencies in the Denver Metro Area.”
This new order is a core part of JCPH’s proactive efforts to quickly curb the recent acceleration in COVID-19 cases in Jeffco. As of today, the county has surpassed its two-week case limit set forth in its first variance. The limit set by CDPHE in Jeffco’s first variance is 580 cases in a two-week period; from July 11-24 we have had at least 584 total cases (confirmed and probable). That means we must implement a mitigation plan that gets our cases back below the limit or we risk losing our variance.
PHO 20-008 does not require face coverings when in private residences, or in a personal vehicle when traveling alone or with members of your household. The order also provides exceptions for medical conditions, certain work conditions, first responder unforeseen emergencies, children 10 years of age younger, and for other situations in which CDPHE has explicitly permitted the removal of a face covering. Face coverings should not be worn by young children under age 2, anyone who cannot medically tolerate wearing it, or anyone who is unable to remove it without assistance.
“We deeply thank our Jeffco residents for working with us during this time and for continuing to take the steps needed to slow the spread of this disease,” said Dr. Mark B. Johnson, Executive Director at JCPH. “We know it has been a long, hard summer, and we hope that by working together we can keep our businesses open and community safe in a sustainable way. Remember to keep caring for one another and doing your part.”
Click here to read the full Public Health Order. For more information about face coverings, including tips for how to wear them, how to clean them and more, visit https://www.jeffco.us/4056/Mask-Guidance or https://covid19.colorado.gov/mask-guidance.
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.