Routt County could move to level yellow in a week |

Routt County could move to level yellow in a week

COVID-19 cases would need to stay below 76 for 7 days

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Routt County could soon be in a position to move to level yellow on the state’s COVID-19 dial as new weekly cases have hit their lowest mark since just before Christmas.

There were 67 new cases in the county in the past seven days, below the 76 case threshold for level yellow, according to the county’s COVID-19 dashboard that was last updated Tuesday. But the county needs to maintain less than 76 cases in a week for seven days before it could be moved on the dial.

The earliest a move to level yellow could be made is Tuesday, Feb. 23.

To actually move on the dial, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment asks local public health directors to send a letter requesting to be moved. Those letters are reviewed once a week, on Tuesdays at noon, according to the online form used to submit letters.

A move to level yellow could further loosen local restrictions, allowing restaurants, gyms, fitness centers, offices and non-essential manufacturing to operate at 50% capacities.

Currently, Routt County has a local public health order that restricts gatherings to just one household, limits capacity in offices to 10% and requires restaurants to carry out additional mitigation efforts like taking contact information of guests to allow for better contact tracing. This order would supersede restrictions outlined in the dial.

But commissioners could change or remove that order before the county would be moved to level yellow. The order is currently in effect until March 1, but the agenda for Friday’s Board of Health meeting indicates they intend to consider amendments to the order.

Test positivity is also continuing to decline with it now at almost exactly 5% after it was almost double that less than a month ago. About 17% of residents have now received a COVID-19 vaccine first dose, with about 8% being fully inoculated.

The county has now been eligible for the 5-Star certification program since Saturday, but Kara Stoller, CEO of the Steamboat Chamber and co-chair of the Administrative Committee setting up the program, said Public Health has not sent a letter of support for the program yet.

If the county moves to level yellow, there would be no immediate benefit from instituting the 5-Star Certification Program locally until the state has given at least 70% of 70-year-olds a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Routt County has given about 72% of local seniors the first dose of the vaccine, but is outpacing the state as a whole. Gov. Jared Polis said earlier this month the state is on track to meet that mark by the end of the month.

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