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State’s color-coded COVID dial system to be retired in next two weeks
RBC | The state health department moved Rio Blanco County to Dial Level Green on March 25, removing most restrictions on gatherings while maintaining recommendations for social distancing and mask wearing.
In two weeks the “COVID Dial” is expected to be retired by the state, replaced by a public health order that will last about 30 days, according to RBC Public Health Director Alice Harvey.
Mask requirements in schools are expected to remain in place until the end of the school year, and hospitals will still be requiring masks to protect high risk populations.
The county will be able to ask for an exemption to the state mask mandate under Level Green. Early in the course of the pandemic, the commissioners posited the county in opposition to the state mandate, refusing to enforce Gov. Polis’ executive order on the basis of “personal freedom.” Local businesses holding state licenses—restaurants, salons, etc.—had to choose whether to comply with the state mandate without support from the county in terms of enforcement. Other businesses were attacked for not requiring masks.
In Tuesday’s work session, Commissioner Gary Moyer said he wanted to consider possible repercussions if the county requests an exemption before making a decision.
Case counts in RBC have remained relatively stable for the last few weeks, despite the Meeker High School volleyball team being quarantined this week.
Harvey said her department has seen a “plateau” in people filling out the vaccine survey. Roughly 20% of the county’s general population has been at least partially vaccinated at this point, and vaccine eligibility opens to the general public — ages 18 and up in RBC — on Friday, April 2. Around 70% of the county’s 65 and older population has been vaccinated. The vaccine clinic schedule is on PAGE 7A.
Harvey said some people are waiting on the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but urged those who are in high risk categories not to wait. There’s no guarantee when the county will receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine