Boulder County has the highest confirmed COVID-19 transmission in Colorado and is one of two counties in the state to move to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s highest risk level, according to the federal agency.
The CDC recommends the use of masks in all indoor public spaces in counties classified as high risk under the agency’s new COVID-19 Community Levels.
In Colorado, Boulder and Jackson counties this week moved to the high-risk level.
Most Colorado counties remain at low risk, though Denver and much of the metro area are at medium risk, along with Larimer, Routt, Rio Blanco, Lake, Chaffee, Costilla, Lincoln, Logan, Sedgwick and Phillips counties.
Boulder County health officials on Friday recommended residents take extra measures to prevent themselves from contracting the virus.
“The move from the medium to high COVID-19 Community Level indicates that COVID cases are high in our community, and the strain on hospitals and health care facilities in Boulder County is rising,” Boulder County Public Health said in a news release.
Counties move to the CDC’s high-risk level when they have a seven-day average of 200 or more new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people and more than 10 new COVID-19 hospital admissions per 100,000 people.
Weekly metrics released by the CDC on Thursday show the weekly case rate in Boulder County is 318.5 per 100,000 people, new COVID-19 hospital admissions are at 10.6 per 100,000 people and staffed inpatient beds in use by COVID-positive people are at 1.9%.
In Jackson County, the weekly case rate is 215.5 per 100,000 people, new COVID-19 hospital admissions are at 10.9 per 100,000 people and staffed inpatient beds in use by COVID-positive people are at 1.4%.
Denver, by comparison, has a seven-day average of more than 200 new cases per 100,000 people — the city’s at 236.1 new cases per 100,000 people — but its rate of new COVID-19 hospitalizations, 7.6 per 100,000, is below the 10 per 100,000 threshold, keeping the county at the medium-risk level.
Boulder County is Colorado’s only county with a seven-day average of more than 300 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people, according to CDC data.
Shawn Hollister, a spokesperson for Boulder County Public Health, said there are no plans to reinstate a mask mandate.
“At this moment, there’s going to be no further restrictions planned,” he said. “However, we really want to encourage everybody to make sure they’re taking the right steps.”
Hollister advises all residents and visitors to make a plan about how to access the resources they might need like medical care, time off from work and testing.
Health officials say residents need to be aware of the individual risks and people at high risk for severe disease, or who have close contact with someone who is, should take additional precautions.
Boulder County health officials recommend taking these steps:
- Wear a well-fitting medical-grade mask indoors in public, regardless of vaccination status, including in K-12 schools and other indoor community settings
- Follow Boulder County Public Health recommendations for isolation and quarantine, including getting tested if you are exposed to COVID-19 or have symptoms of COVID-19
- While indoors, use HEPA filters or increase ventilation and airflow by opening windows or increasing air circulation. Move activities outside for the best protection.
- Get fully vaccinated and stay up to date by getting boosted when eligible. Staying up-to-date is an important layer of protection because vaccine immunity wanes over time.
Hollister added that the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s order is still in place, and facilities like prisons, jails, community corrections and substance abuse treatment center may have their own requirements.
In those locations, he said, “there are certain requirements for face coverings and different testing as well.”
“Keep the people around you safe,” Hollister said.
Additional information about CDC levels and the recommended precautions for individuals is available at cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/science/communitylevels.
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