Routt County applies to move to Safer at Home Level 1 |

Routt County applies to move to Safer at Home Level 1

Steve Herter said he protects himself and others by wearing a mask during the COVID-19 pandemic.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Routt County officials on Tuesday submitted a formal request to the state to move from the second level of “Safer at Home” to the first level of “Safer at Home.”

A decision is expected Wednesday, said Routt County Director of Public Health Roberta Smith at Tuesday’s Routt County Board of Commissioners meeting.

The change primarily would mean an increase in the cap for things like personal gatherings, indoor and outdoor events, places of worship and group sports and camps.

Potential changes to COVID-19 restrictions

If Routt County is approved to move to the Safer at Home Level One, some of the changes would include:

  • Personal gathering sizes can increase from 10 to 25.
  • Outdoor events can increase from 175 to 250 with 50% capacity.
  • Indoor Events can increase from 100 to 175 with 50% capacity.
  • Places of Worship can increase from 50% capacity or 50 people to 50% capacity or 175 indoors.
  • Group sports and camps can increase from 25 to 50 person cap per activity.
  • Retail, offices, personal services and limited health care settings stay the same.
  • The current restaurant variance would no longer be in effect.

With 18 new COVID-19 cases between Sept. 14 and 27, the county is just barely under the threshold required to move levels.

Based on cases as a percentage of population, Routt County would need to have 19 or fewer cases to be eligible.

There are also other requirements, including a percent of positive cases out of all tests administered no greater than 5% and a stable or declining hospitalization rate.

The county’s percent positivity rate remains low at 1.2%, Smith said. The hospitalization rate remains at zero.

“At this time, we do believe it’s appropriate to apply for the Level 1 of Safer at Home.” said Commissioner Tim Corrigan. He added he felt slightly uncomfortable, considering, “If we had had one more positive case, we likely would not have qualified.”

The county quantifies positive cases based on the test collection date, while the state counts cases based on the dates results are reported. Going off the date the cases were reported, Routt County would have 19 cases in the two-week period.

“Practically speaking,” Corrigan said, “we are right on the cusp.”

If approved, and the county falls out of compliance, there is a two-week grace period to get the numbers back down, noted Commissioner Doug Monger.

If the county does move to Level 1, all variances disappear. That means if the county had to move back to Level 2, the county’s restaurant variance would no longer apply. That is Routt County’s only variance and allows restaurants to operate with 50% of posted occupancy, or 175 people, whichever is fewer. The state’s rules allow a maximum of 50 people.

For restaurants, moving to Level 1 essentially means things stay the same due to that existing variance.

In order to move to the Protect Your Neighbor level, Routt County would have to meet a set of eight metrics, including having no more than seven cases within a two week period.

From Sept. 7 to 20, there were 11 new positive case results reported; however, that does not include an additional 16 people during that same time period who tested positive and were physically in Routt County but were not from Routt County.

Those 11 cases moved the county from the “low spread” in terms of disease prevalence into “medium spread.”

On Tuesday, there were a total of 158 total positive COVID-19 cases in Routt County.

To reach Kari Dequine Harden, call 970-871-4205, email or follow her on Twitter @kariharden.

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