RBC to move up on COVID dial

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Rio Blanco County’s stats on the COVID-19 dashboard as of press time Nov. 24.

Editor’s Note: After press time on Tuesday, the CDPHE notified the county that RBC would be moving to yellow status on Nov. 30, rather than red as they had previously indicated. Read our full update at theheraldtimes.com/state-moves-rbc-to-yellow-instead-of-red/rio-blanco-county/

RBC | As of Monday, the county had recorded 102 new positive COVID-19 cases just in November, for a total of 132 since April.
“We are still seeing an increasingly steep increase in cases,” said Rio Blanco County Public Health Director Alice Harvey during a weekly update. The majority of the new cases are in Meeker.

The county reported its first COVID-related death last week at Pioneers Medical Center. No details about the individual have been released.

Harvey said public health is working on reporting on outbreaks as they occur. “We ended up with about four or five outbreaks last week,” she said.

An outbreak is defined as two or more individuals in a non-household setting that test positive within a two-week period.

“We’re testing anywhere from five to 40 people a day out of public health,” she said. The majority of positive cases are symptomatic.

Harvey said she expects the state to move the county out of Protect our Neighbor status — which has the least restrictions — later this week into Level Red: Severe Risk.

According to the CDPHE website, Level Red is “for counties with high levels of transmission, hospitalizations, and positivity rates. Most indoor activities are prohibited or strictly limited, and outdoor activities are encouraged as an alternative.”

Moving to Level Red would increase restrictions on businesses, gatherings and events.

  • What changes:
  • High risk populations should stay at home.
  • Current variances will be reevaluated, and the county is not eligible for new variances.
  • No personal gatherings.
  • High schools are suggested to go to a hybrid or remote program.
  • Indoor church services limited to 25% or a max of 50.
  • Indoor dining is closed. Take out, curbside, delivery are available.
  • Last call moves to 8 p.m.
  • Non-critical manufacturing staff reduced to 25%, or 50 max.
  • Offices limited to 10%, remote work encouraged.
  • Bars are closed.
  • Gyms/fitness centers reduced to 10 indoors per room, or outdoors in groups less than 10.
  • Group sports can be virtual, or conducted outdoors in groups less than 10.
  • Retail services are reduced to 50% staff with increased curbside pickup and delivery, dedicated senior and at-risk hours encouraged.
  • Personal services and limited health care settings drop to 25%.
  • Indoor events are closed.
  • Outdoor events are limited to 25%, attended only with members of your own household with 6 ft. spacing between groups.
  • Outdoor guided services are limited to groups of no more than 10.