Mesa County was certified as one of the first counties in the state for the Protect Our Neighbors phase of reopening. This week the Mesa County Board of Public Health approved Public Health Order 2020-04, Protect Our Neighbors.
This public health order builds upon Mesa County’s phased, gradual approach to reopening that has been successful so far. Major changes include:
- Limits occupants to 50% of the facility’s normal capacity or 500 people, whichever is less.
- Capacity limits may increase by 5% every month as long as key metrics are maintained. Increases in capacity do not happen automatically.
- A larger number of people are allowed to be in an indoor space, but social distancing is still required.
What about face coverings?
Face coverings are still required while entering/exiting or moving throughout a public indoor space, but the new order clarifies some instances where a face covering may be removed including; while exercising indoors, while seated at an establishment or place of worship, and while alone in an office or cubicle space as long as safe distancing (at least 6 feet) practices are being applied. All community members are strongly encouraged to read the entire public health order and outlined guidelines.
How will I know what capacity limits are allowed and our current status?
MCPH is closely monitoring all eight data points that are required under the Protect Our Neighbors certification including PPE supplies, hospital bed capacity, ability to do case investigation and contact tracing and more. The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) will also be ensuring compliance in the areas of incidence rate, COVID hospitalizations, and percent positivity.
Comminity members can see the status of these key measures on the MCPH website. A new section and dashboard provide an easy-to-understand view of the key measures and best practices required in this phase. The page also shows the current capacity limits, as well as an estimate of when the next possible capacity increase may occur. Increases in capacity do not happen automatically, so regularly checking this website will be the best way for business owners and community members to stay informed.
How frequently can capacity limits change?
As long as all metrics are met, increases can occur every four weeks. They can also be paused if mitigation strategies are needed. If after that pause and consultation with the state health department, further action is necessary, it is possible that more strict requirements could be put in place.
What can members of our community do to help?
Mesa County Public Health continues to stress the importance of individual actions to ensure we are able to appropriately respond to cases of COVID-19 in our community. Continue to meet social distancing requirements and take actions to slow the spread of illness such as staying home if you’re sick, wearing a face covering over the nose and mouth when physical distancing is not possible, washing hands often, and getting tested if symptoms appear or if you are in a situation where you may have been exposed to COVID-19. Testing is available for free to all residents of Mesa County. The turnaround time for results is usually within 48 hours. More information on COVID-19 testing can be found here.