Jefferson County, Colo. — With COVID-19 cases beginning to decline in our community, Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) and the Jefferson County Board of Health are making changes to the county’s current public health orders. The purpose of public health orders is to ensure the health and safety of the Jeffco community, while remaining responsive to the emerging and rapidly changing pandemic.
The first action taken by the Jefferson County Board of Health on this matter was to rescind PHO 21-005, which required routine testing of unvaccinated local government employees. This rescission was discussed by and voted on by the Jefferson County Board of Health in a special meeting, held virtually, on Jan. 28, 2022, and was effective immediately.
“Due to the highly contagious nature of the omicron variant, which makes up nearly all cases in Jefferson County and in the state, testing only unvaccinated individuals is no longer an adequate mitigation measure, and it is not a reasonable expectation for all local government to test all their employees,” said Cheri Jahn, President of the Jefferson County Board of Health. “Rescinding PHO 21-005 will allow local government to make decisions that bear in mind the safety and health of all their employees, regardless of vaccination status, and to ensure these policies are robust and receptive to the current COVID-19 situation.”
In addition, the Board of Health will reconvene for a special meeting on Feb. 3, 2022 to discuss the other current public health order in place in Jefferson County, PHO 21-006, which requires masking for all individuals in all public, indoor spaces. The Board plans to work closely with the Office of Pandemic Response at JCPH to monitor cases, hospitalizations and other important COVID-19 transmission metrics over the next week to decide the best course of action.
PHO 21-006 also upholds the current requirement for all individuals in PK-12 school settings to wear masks while indoors. How to mitigate and prevent COVID-19 transmission in schools remains an important concern for the Board of Health, and the team at JCPH is working closely with Jeffco Public Schools to ensure a safe, healthy transition out of required masking as changes are made to PHO 21-006.
“Jefferson County Public Health is proud of the work our partners at Jeffco Public Schools — as well as all schools and childcares in our county — have done to keep students, staff, faculty and all their families safe. As discussions continue about how to move forward into the next phase of mitigation strategies, JCPH is proud to work closely with and support our schools in their efforts,” said Christine Billings, Head of the Office of Pandemic Response at JCPH. “It will continue to be vital to preserve the health and safety of school-aged children and all the adults who work in and interact with our schools - especially those who may be medically fragile or are not yet eligible for the vaccine. JCPH will work hand-in-hand with all our community’s school leaders to ensure programs and policies that help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in schools, as well as preserve and prioritize in-person learning.”
These changes and discussions are important steps toward a sustainable, safe off-ramp for public health mitigation measures, as our community works to transition to treating COVID-19 as an endemic disease — meaning one that is present, but controlled, in our community.
“The people of Jefferson County have worked diligently for the last two years to take every step possible to keep themselves, their loved ones and their community as safe and healthy as possible.” said Dr. Dawn Comstock, Executive Director at JCPH. “Now, and always, JCPH is committed to serving our community, and working to continuously adapt to the ever-changing nature of COVID-19 will allow us to do just that.”
JCPH continues to be committed to guaranteeing our community has widespread access to important COVID-19 prevention and treatment strategies, including numerous locations across the county that offer testing and vaccination. COVID-19 vaccines remain the best way to protect yourself and others from severe complications due to the virus, and have shown to be effective against each variant that has been identified to date. If you have not yet received your vaccine or your booster (if eligible), please do so as soon as possible. COVID-19 vaccines are free and no ID or insurance is required. For a complete list of COVID-19 vaccine locations across the county, including what ages they serve, visit www.jeffco.us/vaccinesignup.
To learn more about the COVID-19 response at JCPH, please visit our website at www.jeffco.us/coronavirus. To learn more about the Jefferson County Board of Health, including details about next week’s meeting as soon as they are available, please visit https://www.jeffco.us/3413/Board-of-Health.
About Jefferson County Public Health
Public health is what we 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.