|By Rick Langenberg
Teller County, as expected, has joined Fremont County in entering the Blue-land surge, regarding less restrictive state COVID-19 regulations
This movement is being welcomed by elected leaders and officials and could provide more relief for area businesses. This will add to capacity levels and will up last call at area bars to midnight.
But more importantly, it helps the county from an image-standpoint, as there is only one code level of lesser restrictions on the state’s dial system.
This move to Blue-land has been in the works for the last two weeks.
At Wednesday’s Cripple Creek City Council meeting, Finance Director Paul Harris, who serves on the coronavirus advisory committee, relayed the good news that Teller was practically guaranteed a Blue designation shortly. He told the council that the county was showing Blue numbers in the number of cases and its low positivity rate.
The only Yellow figure dealt with the hospitalization numbers.
“The trend appears to be moving in the right direction,” said Interim City Administrator Ray White, in a comment also voiced by county leaders.
The following day, the news became official and Teller became a Blue county.
The Teller County Board of Health informed the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) that Teller will be moving to “Blue” under the state’s newly-released COVID-19 Dial effective February 18. Teller County Public Health Director Martha Hubbard sent a letter to CDPHE informing the state of the change in the COVID-19 risk level in Teller County.
Teller County Commissioner Chairman Bob Campbell spoke highly of the change. “Teller County residents should be applauded for their efforts to reduce the spread of the virus. Kudos to Teller County Public Health volunteers, staff and our local vaccination partners; we have vaccinated nearly 50 percent of our over-70 population with the first dose”, said Campbell.
As of the middle of last week, the COVID-incidence rates in Teller County were as follows:
*Seven-day cumulative incidence rate: 59/100,000 people
*Percent positivity: 3.7 percent
*Number of Vaccines Administered: First Dose: 3481 Second Dose: 1071
The new changes went into effect on Feb. 18 at 9 a.m. Highlights of the changes include:
*Restaurants may operate at 50% of posted occupancy indoors.
*Both indoor and outdoor events can apply for local site variances to Teller County Board of Health.
*Last Call for alcohol service is moved to 12 a.m.
*Gyms may operate at 50% occupancy.
*Indoor events may operate at 50% of posted occupancy not to exceed 225 people.
*Outdoor events may operate at 50% of posted occupancy not to exceed 250 people.
*Casinos may operate at 50% of the posted occupancy limit not to exceed 175-225 people per room indoors.
However, officials remind residents that we are far removed from the COVID-19 scare. Teller has recorded close to 1,300 cases since the epidemic started.
Teller County is encouraging all residents and businesses to continue to take personal responsibility for their own health and help fight the spread of COVID-19 in our community and remind the general public that all public health orders remain in effect.
Those residents interested in receiving vaccination information please see www.tellercovid.com which links to the interactive vaccination interest form.
Additional information on specific sector guidance under COVID-19 Dial Level Blue can be found in Public Health Order (PHO) 20-36 (as amended) which is located at https://covid19.colorado.gov/prepare-protect-yourself/prevent-the-spread/public-health-executive-orders