On Monday, August 30, 2021, the State Board of Health approved emergency rules requiring vaccination for staff in licensed healthcare settings. Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) applauds the State Board of Health for this important requirement of healthcare workers serving in vulnerable, high-risk settings where community members seek care. COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to climb in Colorado and Jefferson County, and vaccination is safe, effective and the leading public health and medical strategy for preventing the spread of the virus.
“JCPH fully supports the state’s vaccine requirement for people working in licensed healthcare settings, especially as the Delta variant continues to make its way through our unvaccinated population and as stress on the healthcare system builds,” said Dr. Dawn Comstock, Executive Director, JCPH. “All licensed healthcare settings in Jefferson County must adhere to this requirement and should begin ensuring their staff is vaccinated. Thank you to the healthcare providers in Jeffco who have already taken this important step to protect your staff, the people you serve and the larger community by being vaccinated.”
While the State Board of Health requirement only applies to healthcare settings licensed by the state (see Colorado Revised Statute 25-1.5-103(1)(a)(1)), JCPH strongly encourages all other settings that provide healthcare services — including primary care offices, urgent cares, etc. — to require their staff to get a COVID-19 vaccine as well.
Further, JCPH supports and encourages all Jeffco businesses and organizations that serve the public to consider ways to ensure low risk of COVID-19, such as requiring vaccination or requiring unvaccinated individuals to undergo routine testing and wear masks. This will provide a safer work environment, prevent COVID-19 transmission among staff and patrons and reduce unnecessary demand and costs on our local healthcare system.
“We are now in the third largest wave of COVID-19, and it’s a pivotal time for our community — especially those who provide essential services to the public — to take action. Over 75% of eligible Jeffco residents have stepped up to protect themselves, their loved ones and their communities by getting vaccinated — it is time for those who are still unvaccinated to follow suit. Our friends and neighbors do not need to end up in the hospital with a vaccine-preventable illness. FDA’s full approval of the first COVID-19 vaccine is an important milestone that should reassure anyone who has concerns about getting vaccinated that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective,” Comstock said.
From August 23-29, there have been 767 new cases of COVID-19 (131.5 per 100,000 persons) in Jeffco, a 68.2% increase from the same time period last month (456 new cases from July 23-29). Hospitalizations among Jeffco residents have doubled with the 14-day rolling average increasing from 0.4 per 100,000 persons during July 10-23 to 0.8 per 100,000 persons during August 10-23. Of all new cases in the past two months, 83.5% were among people who were unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated. 82.9% of hospitalizations in the past two months were among people who were unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated.
To read CDPHE’s press release on the State Board of Health’s decision, click here. For more information about COVID-19 vaccines and where to get vaccinated in Jeffco, visit www.jeffco.us/covid-vaccine.