Tri-County Health Department Moving to State Safer at Home May 9
Tri-County Health Department (TCHD) along with other Denver Metro health departments will allow its Stay at Home order to expire May 8 at midnight for Adams and Arapahoe counties. With that expiration, each of Tri-County Health Department’s counties--Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties-- will be under the State’s current Safer at Home order. This means that on May 9, Critical Businesses can remain open, and many non-Critical Businesses can begin to open with some restrictions according to the state’s Safer-at-Home order.
“We want to thank our entire community for the unprecedented effort made by so many to enhance our social distancing and allow us to make our communities safer during the COVID-19 epidemic: this has clearly involved social, psychological, and economic hardship for many. While COVID-19 will continue to be with us for the foreseeable future, our hospitals now have sufficient capacity and medical equipment and we have the support systems in place to deliver the best healthcare we can if a surge should take place.” said John M. Douglas, Jr., MD, Executive Director of Tri-County Health Department. “I am grateful for the sacrifices that our community has made to slow the spread of COVID-19 and we must remain vigilant to continue that trend and keep our communities safe while we gradually re-open our businesses.”
Since the local extension of the Stay-At-Home order began on April 27, access to COVID-19 testing and personal protective equipment (PPE) has started to improve, with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) providing additional testing and PPE to local providers and test sites. TCHD is working closely with medical providers to increase testing and capacity to do contact tracing as we continue to live with COVID-19 in our lives. Over the past two weeks, testing in Adams and Arapahoe Counties has increased by 109% and 86%, respectively, while over the same time period, TCHD has more than doubled our staff trained to undertake case investigation, contact notification, and outbreak response. Furthermore, while the increase in testing means that the reported number of cases in our counties has not yet declined, the number of persons hospitalized due to COVID-19 continues to go down, a very encouraging sign.
With businesses opening, it is important to remember that many of the actions required under the Stay-at-Home order still apply under the new Safer-at-Home level. It is critical that businesses follow best practices for reopening and more information can be found at https://covid19.colorado.gov/safer-at-home or www.tchd.org/coronavirus.
TCHD has developed tools for businesses, including a checklist, that has been helpful for businesses to use as they plan for reopening. In addition, TCHD has a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) based on calls received in TCHD’s Call Center. Reopening information will also be provided on Town Hall events occurring throughout the week. “Businesses are anxious to reopen and want to make sure they have everything in place to do so,” said Douglas. “We thank the business community and county and city leadership for their patience and support through this trying time.”
Individuals are strongly advised to continue staying at home to the greatest extent possible, only interacting with household members and only leaving for essential activities. Of particular importance, those at greater risk of severe illness from COVID-19, such as people 65 and older and those with underlying medical problems, should continue to stay at home unless leaving is absolutely necessary.
In addition, everyone should continue to take these disease prevention actions to protect themselves as well as others in their family and community:
- Wear a non-medical mask or face covering when away from your home, particularly in indoor settings where social distancing is difficult.
- Stay at least six feet away from others if you must go out.
- If you have symptoms of COVID-19, isolate yourself and contact your health care provider
- Do not go to work or other public spaces if you are sick.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
- Only travel when absolutely essential.