County at Safer at Home Level 1
Last updated 9/17/2020 at 11:33am
This week the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) launched a new "dial" aimed at helping local governments and Coloradans navigate and apply safety guidance throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on this new framework, El Paso County is currently in Safer at Home Level 1 – Cautious, which is the second-least restrictive of the five levels.
This level indicates that El Paso County is currently meeting the following three metrics, all of which are available on Public Health's data dashboard:
Five percent or less test positivity rate:
As of Sept. 16, El Paso County's two-week positivity rate is 2.42 percent.
Between 0-75 cases per 100,000:
As of Sept. 16, El Paso County's two-week incidence is 61.5.
No more than two new COVID-19 hospital admissions per day.
Officials say the new dial adds simplicity, transparency and predictability regarding how counties open—or close— based on virus transmission levels. By establishing different levels of "openness," standardized at the county level, it strikes a balance between maintaining sustainability, while at the same time assuring we do not surpass public health or health care capacities.
Placement in Safer at Home Level 1 – Cautious returns El Paso County to the capacity levels it had achieved with its approved variances. Those variances, which resulted from work done in partnership with community stakeholders such as the Colorado Restaurant Association, Pikes Peak Area Attractions, the Downtown Partnership, and the Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC, had been temporarily suspended in recent weeks but are now folded into the new dial framework.
The following capacities are currently allowed under Safer at Home Level 1 – Cautious:
Personal gatherings: Up to 25 people
P-12 schools: In-person suggested or hybrid, remote as appropriate
Higher education: In-person suggested or hybrid, remote as appropriate
Places of worship and life rites: 50 percent capacity up to 175 indoors; six feet between parties outdoors, per local zoning
Restaurants: 50 percent capacity up to 175 indoors; six feet between parties outdoors, per local zoning
Non-critical manufacturing: 50 percent capacity up to 175 people
Offices: 50 percent capacity
Gyms/fitness: 25 percent capacity or 175 people
Group sports and camps: 50 person cap per activity
Non-critical retail: 50 percent capacity
Personal services: 50 percent capacity up to 50 people
Limited health care settings: 50 percent capacity up to 50 people
Indoor events: 50 percent capacity up to 175 people
Outdoor events: 50 percent up to 250 people
Outdoor guided services: 50 percent capacity up to 25 people
"In conjunction with this new dial, Public Health will continue to use data and science to drive informed decision making," a county news release said. "While we have seen sustained declines and stabilization in our numbers, epidemiological data indicates the following recent trends in El Paso County:
"Individuals between the ages of 20 and 29 account for almost a quarter of cases.
There have also been recent rises in cases among individuals 60 years of age and older.
Outbreaks are being identified at an increasing rate within the community. There are currently 33 ongoing outbreaks among long-term care facilities, churches, retail, schools, hotels and construction sites.
"In order to maintain our current level, and to work toward expanding capacities more broadly in the future, it is imperative that people continue to practice proven prevention measures:
· Wear a face covering, making sure it covers both nose and mouth
· Practice social distancing
· Wash hands frequently with soap and water
· Stay home when sick
· Seek COVID-19 testing – click here for a list of locations in El Paso County."
What are the metrics the state uses to determine levels?
· New cases: How much the virus is circulating in a county.
· Percent positivity: Whether there is sufficient COVID-19 testing to capture the level of virus transmission.
· Impact on hospitalizations: Whether hospitalizations are increasing, stable, or declining.
To move to a less restrictive level (e.g., Level 2 to Level 1), counties need to meet and sustain all three metrics for two weeks. Counties must engage in a consultation process with CDPHE, which may entail moving to a more restrictive level when they are out of compliance with any of the metrics for more than two weeks.
Please visit http://www.elpasocountyhealth.org for more information.