Boulder County health officials today rescinded its just-issued stay-at-home order, to officially adopt a similar statewide order handed down late Wednesday.
The Boulder County Public Health order, issued in coordination with Jefferson County Public Health and the Tri-County Health Department, had been announced Wednesday morning, and took effect at 8 a.m. today. It was to have been in effect until 11:59 p.m. April 17.
However, Polis handed down his own statewide order later Wednesday, which became effective at 6 a.m. today, to expire April 11.
“After much discussion and consideration, our three local health departments have decided to rescind the local level Orders and formally adopt the state’s Order. We believe this action will ensure Stay-At-Home requirements are consistent across the state, and hence will make it easier for our residents to follow,” said a statement issued today by Boulder County Public Health.
“We applaud Gov. Polis for taking this critical step to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in our state and ultimately, save lives.”
Boulder County rescinded its order as the number of those who have tested positive for COVID-19 reached 71 as or 4 p.m., up from 69 in the morning, and the county recorded its first death associated with the coronavirus, that of a Lafayette resident in their 60s.
A release from Boulder County Public Health said the patient had underlying medical issues that were exacerbated by contracting COVID-19.
“Our hearts go out to this family,” Boulder County Public Health Director Jeff Zayach said in a statement. “My hope is that we all view this heartbreaking news as a solemn warning about the importance of heeding the Stay-at-Home Order and social distancing requirements in order to prevent more tragedies like this.”
Of those 71, five individuals are hospitalized, seven are under investigation, 26 residents are isolating at home and 28 residents have recovered.
But Boulder County’s official numbers very likely do not fully reflect the actual number of people in the county who have the virus because there are numerous people who have the virus whose test results are not yet known or have not yet been tested because they don’t currently meet the criteria for testing.
Those testing positive for the disease range in age from the teens to the 80s, and the average age is 46 years, according to the release.
Statewide there were 26 confirmed COVID-19 deaths as of 4 p.m. Thursday, with more than 1,400 positive cases.
Also, Thursday, Chana Goussetis, a spokesperson for Boulder County Public Health said the department is abandoning its practice of giving more than one update per day on statistics pertaining to the spread of COVID-19.
Goussetis said that is being done to bring the county’s practice into line with CDPHE, which has been releasing its updated numbers at about 4 p.m. each day.
Goussetis also said it is believed that testing for COVID-19 should be expanding locally in coming days, but that “Locally, we haven’t been given any additional access to testing, so far.”
Currently, she said, the recommended protocol from her department is “If people are feeling ill with flu- like symptoms, we recommend they isolate.
“If they are needing medical help, then they should call their health care provider. They will do an assessment and decide whether they should be tested for COVID-19. And then, the health care provider refers them to where they can get tested.”
COVID-19 testing can be accomplished in Boulder County, she added, “but it is very limited because of the limit on supplies right now.”
Some county residents on Thursday expressed confusion as to whether simply going for a walk, a hike or a ride is still permitted. A “frequently asked questions” feature on Polis’s website stated people are permitted “to engage in outdoor activity, such as, walking, hiking, nordic skiing, snowshoeing, biking or running.
“For purposes of outdoor activity, State parks will remain open to the public to engage in walking, hiking, biking, running, and similar outdoor activities but all playgrounds, picnic areas, other similar areas conducive to public gathering, and attended areas shall be closed.”
It also states people must “take extreme steps to avoid contact with anybody outside their household and minimize contact in public places that could be contaminated with the COVID-19 virus.”
“If people are out and about, it is ideal if they stay close to their neighborhood, and they are not doing it with people they don’t spend time with everyday, anyway,” Goussetis said. “It’s important to know that we don’t want to see huge groups of people at trailheads anymore.”
On a related note, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, to comply with Polis’s order and to comply with directives from CDHE and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, today closed all playgrounds, campgrounds, camping and camping facilities, including yurts and cabins, at state wildlife areas effective immediately, until further notice.
CPW planned to notify all campers currently at state sites to vacate immediately, and would be contacting reservation holders to provide a process for refunds to those affected campers.
Non-campground outdoor areas of parks — including trails, boat ramps, marinas and shorelines were to remain open, although CPW managers may close some of those areas that do not provide for social distancing.
Similarly, the U.S. Forest Service announced today that the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland would immediately begin the orderly closure of certain developed recreation sites and campgrounds, to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Closures will be in place through April 30, at which point they will be reevaluated.
Staff writer Kelsey Hammon contributed to this report.
For general questions about COVID-19, community members can call CO-HELP at 303-389-1687 or 1-877-462-2911, or email COHELP@RMPDC.org for answers in English, Spanish, Mandarin and more.
This content was originally published here.