THIS IS A RAPIDLY EVOLVING AND FLUID SITUATION. INFORMATION AND ACTION ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE AT ANY TIME. BE PREPARED TO BE FLEXIBLE AND PATIENT.
The situations, numbers, website links, data, and etc. described below were current as of Monday 11/9/2020 at 11:20 am.
PLEASE DISTRIBUTE THIS WIDELY
11/9/2020 Crowley/Otero COVID-19 Update #1: Crowley/Otero Movement to Level Orange
Please take the time to read and understand this entire message.
Internet links: Before I send out each update, I check the links to make sure they are active. However, links do change from time to time, so the links I sent out today may not be the same tomorrow. You may have to search around a bit.
Hello to all. As you are all no doubt aware, we are seeing COVID-19 activity increase throughout the nation and state, and unfortunately Crowley/Otero is no exception. Due to this increase, Crowley and Otero Counties will be moving to a more restrictive phase, which is Safer At Home Level Orange. This move will be effective Friday, 11/13/2020. Delaying it until then will give our communities time to ask questions, respond, and adapt accordingly. How will this affect us? Please look at the attached document entitled “Level Restrictions”, and compare the restrictions between Level Yellow (where we are now) and Level Orange (Where we will be this Friday). You can also see the level restrictions online at the following website https://covid19.colorado.gov/…/covi…/covid-19-dial-dashboard and click on the “Show Guidelines and Restrictions” link.
Why are we moving to the next, more restrictive level?
1. We are already (unofficially) there as a combined public health jurisdiction. Actually, we are unofficially in Level Red with a current rate of 431.9 cases/100,000 population.
2. We are currently experiencing outbreaks at both prisons in Crowley County. Prisons are considered congregate care facilities, and resident (prisoner) cases from those institutions do not factor into the rates that are considered for level assignments on the COVID-19 dial. In other words, the number of positive prisoners will be excluded from the case rate that determines our Crowley/Otero level. Because of this, I have subtracted out the number of positive prisoners (as of 11/9/2020) from the prisons in Crowley County and recalculated the combined rate for Crowley/Otero, and as of the time of this writing it is 431.9 cases/100,000 population, which is actually in Level Red, Stay At Home.
3. One may ask “if our metrics show us to be currently in Level Red, why are we moving to the level below that, which is Level Orange?” As we move to the right across the levels, we experience more stringent restrictions. We do not want an immediate, “knee-jerk” reaction to this, we want to ensure that we are fairly established in a level before moving to that next more restrictive level. Becoming more restrictive in Level Orange may provide the sufficient level of public health interventions we need to start stabilizing and reducing cases and not establishing ourselves in Level Red, but instead moving back to the left on the dial to a less restrictive state.
4. The soonest we could get back to Level Yellow would be 11/15/2020, and it would require having no more than 8 positive cases between now and then, which is highly unlikely given the local, regional, and statewide increases.
5. We most definitely do not want to move to Level Red (Stay At Home phase) so we need to proactively stabilize and decrease cases now so that we can avoid that.
6. Any movement to a more restrictive phase on the Dial invalidates variances, so while we are at Level Orange our variance is not active, and we are solely under Level Orange restrictions.
If you have questions regarding churches, restaurants, businesses, events, etc. please contact the following staff that have been assigned to assist you:
o (719) 383-4728
o (719) 383-3087
School staff/personnel, if you have school-related questions regarding this situation, please contact our regional school liaison:
o (719) 468-6035
If you call and Aaron, Su, or Tony are not readily available, please leave your name and phone number and they will return your call as soon as they are able.
What can you do to help get our COVID-19 numbers down? https://covid19.colorado.gov/prevention
Please do your part to stop the spread, remember it’s up to us.
Richard Ritter, Executive Director
Otero County Health Department
13 West 3rd Street, Room 111
La Junta, Colorado 81050
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