As the state continues to be concerned about a surge of COVID-19 cases in Douglas County, officials have asked the county for the second time this month to provide an update to their plan on decreasing the spread.
Douglas County planned to submit their new mitigation plan, with a heavy emphasis on public education, Oct. 23.
The county’s mitigation efforts are also focused on increasing remote work for non-essential businesses and outreach to businesses and communities, including giving warnings to these entities when public health requirements have reportedly not been followed, according to the plan.
The main focus of the plan is a 10-week regional public education and citizen engagement campaign, beginning the week of Oct. 26. The plan is in partnership with Tri-County Health Department, Douglas County’s municipalities, the library district, Highlands Ranch Metro District and the Highlands Ranch Community Association. It will be funded by the county’s allotment of federal CARES Act funding.
It will consist of live town halls, digital and print advertising and social media messaging, according to the document.
“There is substantial evidence of the continued spread of COVID-19 throughout Douglas County,” according to the county’s mitigation plan, which is signed by all three commissioners.
As of Oct. 26, Douglas County was under the state’s “Safer Level 1,” which is the second most lenient after “Protect Our Neighbors.” Arapahoe, Elbert, Teller and El Paso counties all sit at this level while Denver and Jefferson are more restricted at “Safer Level 2” and Adams County at “Safer Level 3.”
The county exceeded the “Safer Level 1” incidence threshold on Sept. 18 and was notified Oct. 2 that its status under that level was in jeopardy. The county has requested that the state consider a new “severity metric” — which takes into account both incidence rates and hospitalizations — for future decisions around which level of restrictions the county will have.
As of Oct. 26, the county had 3,810 positive cases, with a two-week incidence rate of 182.3 cases per 100,000 people, according to Tri-County.
On Oct. 24, the county had its highest-ever day of positive cases with 85 new infections confirmed. Part of this surge in infections could be due to delayed data being added after-the-fact, said John Douglas, executive director of Tri-County.
Daily hospitalization rate also appears to be going up for the first time since March with a seven-day rolling average rate of 0.583, as of Oct. 20. The county has seen one death in the month of October, according to Tri-County’s data.
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