Mellowing COVID case rates have Grand preparing for Yellow
Citing reduced infection rates, Grand County officials have announced the county will move into the Yellow category on the state’s COVID-19 dial by Monday.
In a Friday night letter to the community, Grand County Public Health Director Abbie Baker explained that because Grand County has seen a steady decline in new cases since Feb. 18, the health department is asking people to prepare for lowered restrictions.
“Not only have we gone below the Red Level for the first time since October 2020, but we have also gone below Orange and have now been at Yellow levels for cases and positivity for seven days,” Baker wrote. “This is the result of all of you doing your part to keep our county safe and our businesses open. We are moving to Yellow dial level restrictions!”
The county was required to have seven days of consistent metrics at a given dial level before making any adjustments and Grand has met that requirement, Baker added.
To give local businesses time to prepare for additional capacities and communities time to work on messaging, the move to Yellow will go into effect by 12:01 a.m. Monday, according to Baker’s letter.
“We have done a lot of work to get where we are with the COVID-19 spread,” she wrote. “We have to move into Yellow with the understanding that spring break tourism is coming. We need to be smart so that we don’t experience a surge in resident cases in the aftermath that can have further impacts on our schools and businesses.”
The letter says an increase in cases would affect the county’s ability to administer vaccines, and indoor and outdoor events, regardless of size and venue, are still required to submit plans for approval.
Regarding the vaccine, the county’s clinics and health care providers began vaccinating people included in phase 1B.3 of the rollout on Friday. The county will begin vaccinating people in the 1B.3 group, in addition to the continuing vaccination of 1A, 1B.1, and 1B.2, as supplies allow.
According to Grand County Public Health, the state has split what was previously known as phase 1B.3 into two phases and put restaurant workers in a new phase, 1B.4.
The vaccine supply continues to be limited, but the county health department is hopeful that shipments will increase at the beginning of April.
“We understand that many people are eager to get their vaccine as soon as possible, and we, too, want that to happen,” the county health department wrote in a Friday night vaccine update. “We are confident that everyone in the community who wants a vaccine will be able to get one; we just ask for your patience while we work quickly and diligently to reach that goal.”
Upcoming vaccine rollout phases
(Began March 5)
• People age 60 and older.
• Frontline essential workers in grocery and agriculture.
• People 16-59 with 2 or more documented high risk conditions.
New phase 1.B.4
(Beginning later in March)
• People age 50 and older.
• Higher education
• Frontline essential workers in food/restaurant services, manufacturing, US postal service, public transit and specialized transportation, public health, and human service workers
• Faith leaders
• Frontline essential direct care providers for Coloradans experiencing homelessness
• Frontline essential journalists
• Continuity of local government
• Continuation of operations for state government
• Adults who received a placebo during a COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial
• People 16-49 with one documented higher risk condition
(Timing Dependent on Supply)
Phase 2 replaces what used to be Phase 3. This phase includes the general public or any Coloradan who is not included in earlier phases because they have lower risk of exposure or are less likely to have severe outcomes from COVID-19. This phase may be further segmented by age if needed.
Antigen Testing Update
Grand County Public Health’s free antigen testing program is still operational and testing at sites in Fraser, Granby, Grand Lake, Hot Sulphur Springs and Kremmling one to two times at each location per week. While attendance numbers have dropped slightly in the last week, GCPH intends to continue the program through at least the end of March and maybe longer if demand persists. The schedule for antigen testing can be found at Grand County COVID-19 Testing Information. As a reminder, the antigen testing sites are open to everyone, are free-of-charge, and no appointments are necessary. Please note that testing at the Kremmling location on March 25 and March 27 is hereby canceled unless an alternative site is determined. Please continue to check the link above for updates.
As alluded to a couple weeks ago, Grand County is getting very close to initiating our GrandStar Program (the local variation of Colorado’s 5-star Certified Business Variance Program). Through a rigorous certification and inspection process, the GrandStar Program will allow certain businesses in Grand County to operate at greater capacities than the currently designated COVID Dial allows. The GrandStar program will initially be open to restaurants and recreation centers countywide, but the intent is to include additional business sectors (like indoor events) in the future. Restaurants and recreation facilities throughout the county are encouraged to check out the GrandStar website at http://www.playwinterpark.com/grandstar to learn more about the program and complete the application if interested.
Source: Grand County Public Health
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