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Posted on: July 24, 2020

Jeffco Taking Steps to Reduce COVID-19 Case Increase with Goal of Avoiding Business Closures

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Jefferson County, Colo. – Despite several public health orders over the last few weeks and concerted efforts, Jefferson County has seen an increase in COVID-19 cases – from 388 cases (probable and confirmed) during the weeks of June 27-July 10, to just over 580 total cases for the weeks of July 11-24, meaning the county has surpassed its two-week case limit set forth in its first variance. As a result, the county must implement a mitigation plan to bring these numbers within the threshold limit or risk having its variance rescinded.

“At this time, we are looking at how we stem this tide of increased COVID-19 cases, while allowing businesses and other entities to remain open for residents and visitors and not cause any more pain to our economy,” said Dr. Mark Johnson, Executive Director of JCPH. “Due to an overall rise in virus cases around the nation and state, many areas are already having variances rescinded, which is causing another closure of certain types of businesses that are still feeling the economic effects of the state’s first Stay-at-Home Order.”  

Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) has been constantly looking at ways to mitigate the rise of COVID-19 cases in Jefferson County so we can keep our local variance. One such mitigation strategy is Public Health Order 20-007 enacted on July 20, which ensures that venues have a solid plan in place before holding larger events with more than one designated activity. This order requires venues of large events to provide JCPH a plan, and have it approved in writing, outlining virus safety precautions they plan to take to ensure compliance with the state’s PHO 20-28.

Another mitigation strategy is Public Health Order 20-008, a new face covering order issued today that expands on the state’s mask order and requires everyone ages 11 and older in Jeffco to wear a face covering when in indoor and outdoor public settings. JCPH is currently working to release other recommendations for areas of mitigation for our community.

“Most counties in Colorado are seeing an increase in positive cases and we are doing what is needed so that we don’t lose the great progress our community has made over the last several months,” said Johnson. “We want to remind everyone of the importance of wearing face coverings, the need to practice excellent hygiene and the need for social distancing to be able to continue doing our part to slow the spread of COVID-19 to protect our community and our businesses.”

The original Jefferson County variance, granted on June 8 by the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, allowed for more lenient capacity limits for group gatherings across all venues, including places of worship. It also allowed re-opening of shopping malls, fitness centers, brewpubs, distilleries and other venues. The original local variance allowed for indoor gatherings of 50 people, or 50% occupancy, while outdoor settings allowed for 125 people. School graduations were allowed to take place as a part of that variance, with a plan approved by JCPH. To see the annotated Jefferson County variance next to the Public Health Order, and information about how this variance loss could affect you or your business, see our Safer-at-Home web page

Find more information about COVID-19 cases and other local data on the Case Summary web page.

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.

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