Longmont and Boulder County are stepping up measures to try and head off the rising tide of COVID-19 cases.
The county has issued a new public health order that calls for smaller sizes for gatherings and tighter restrictions on events. And the city and county are working together to provide more “pop-up” testing sites in neighborhoods where they are needed. There currently is a testing site in Longmont at the Boulder County Fairgrounds.
“The pop-up sites are based on where we are seeing trends in new cases among communities that are higher risk and locations where access is limited,” said Boulder County Public Health spokesperson Chana Goussetis.
The next COVID-19 testing site is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 17. 3-6 p.m. at 1551 Professional Lane. No appointment is necessary and patients are encouraged to show up before closing time, according to a flyer from Boulder County Public Health. The test is free and patients should receive results in 48 hours, according to the flyer. Those who are tested will also receive a free COVID care bag
Mayor Brian Bagley during Tuesday’s city council meeting asked staff to craft a resolution asking Longmont residents to take measures to limit COVID-19 exposure. Those include wearing masks in public, staying in their family units and keeping 6 feet apart in public.
Such a resolution would be non-binding, but would reinforce the safety measures mandated by the state and county.
“We need to let our constituents know we endorse” state guidelines, Bagley said of such a resolution.
As of Nov. 9, 1,950 Longmont residents had tested positive or were considered probable for COVID-19, according to Boulder County Public Health data. Boulder had the highest number of positive and probable cases among county municipalities as of that date with 3,528.
On Thursday, the county Board of Health approved strict new requirements that go into effect Saturday and extend to Dec. 14, according to a Boulder County Health news release. The new protective measures are in addition to requirements mandated by the county being in Safer at Home Level Orange: High Risk status on the state’s COVID dial, according to the release.
The new requirements:
- Limit personal gatherings, private or public, to two households and no more than 10 people.
- Limit indoor events to 25% capacity or a max of 25 people. This is a reduction from the 50-person limit.
- Limit venues to one indoor at a time, even if there are separate rooms.
- Prohibit spectators at any adult sporting events and high school sports and games, including those sanctioned by the Colorado High School Activities Association and University of Colorado football.
- Limit indoor dining to one household per table.
- Limit outdoor dining to 10 people per table.
The county also is recommending all employees, even those in critical businesses, work from home, according to the release.
While personal gatherings will continue to be allowed for up to 10 people from no more than two households, public health officials are urging residents to avoid all gatherings for the time being, according to the news release.
The new public health order is aimed at reducing COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations, Jeff Zayach, Boulder County Public Health executive director, stated in the release. If cases don’t decline, the state could change Boulder County’s status to Stay at Home, which is red on the dial.
“It comes down to all of us taking personal responsibility to stay home when we’re sick; following the quarantine and isolation instructions for the required length, even if we feel well, spending time with only our own household members; and always wearing a mask and keeping social distance when we are around others,” Zayach stated.
In the last month, 14 Boulder County residents have died from COVID-19 while hospitalizations are rising significantly along with a rapid increase in new cases, according to the release.
The number of new cases of COVID-19 among Boulder County residents in the past two weeks total 556.9 per 100,000, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s dashboard. Stay at Home begins at 350 cases per 100,000 population, the county news release stated.
The five-day rolling average of daily cases among county residents is 182.2 per day. As of Thursday, 85 people with COVID-19 were hospitalized in Boulder County, according to the news release.
The city has created a page on its website with information on how to report public health or mask order violations, which includes contacting the Boulder County Public Health call center at 720-776-0822. The call center is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Correction: COVID-19 was mistakenly labeled as COVID-10 in one instance.