4

Colorado Counties That Could Dump COVID Safety Rules This Week

Greeley, as seen in a video posted by the city's tourism bureau last month.
Greeley, as seen in a video posted by the city's tourism bureau last month.
^
Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Despite acknowledging that Colorado has been hit by a fourth wave of the novel coronavirus, Governor Jared Polis is moving ahead with plans to retire the state's COVID-19 dial dashboard and shift control of disease management from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to individual counties on April 16.

Which counties are likeliest to ditch regulations the fastest?

In some of the state's most politically conservative counties, leaders and residents alike have decried restrictions since the start of the pandemic more than a year ago. And despite this state being solidly in the blue in statewide and national elections, there are a lot of conservative counties. In 2020, 37 of Colorado's 64 counties voted for Donald Trump, who consistently downplayed the seriousness of the virus and pushed aggressively to reopen the economy and society in general, often against the advice of his own health officials.

Many of these counties are among the least populous in Colorado, and have only a modest incidence of COVID-19. The still-functioning dial dashboard shows that as of today, April 13, 14 of the 37 measure at Level Green, the lowest spot on the scale under the CDPHE's original metric, which the department continues to track even though standards have been loosened in recent weeks.

The remaining 23 counties include five at Level Red in terms of their two-week cumulative COVID-19 incidence rate; anything over 350 cases per 100,000 residents qualifies. Three of the biggest were solidly pro-Trump in the last election: El Paso County, home of Colorado Springs; Douglas County, in southern metro Denver; and Weld County, anchored by Greeley. (As of today, a total of eleven counties in the state rank at Level Red according to their two-week cumulative incidence rate; Summit, Eagle, Pitkin, Pueblo, Larimer and La Plata all register there, too.)

Here are the current Dial 3.0 positions of Colorado's 37 most conservative counties, along with where they'd land under the previous CDPHE dial according to their two-week cumulative incidence rate. The counties are in alphabetical order; the five with a Level Red incidence rate have been bolded.

Archuleta County
Operating at: Level Blue
Level of two-week cumulative incidence rate: Level Red (378.5)

Baca County
Operating at: Level Green
Level of two-week cumulative incidence rate: Level Green (fewer than eight cases in past two weeks)

Bent County
Operating at: Level Green
Level of two-week cumulative incidence rate: Level Green (fewer than eight cases in the past two weeks)

Cheyenne County
Operating at: Level Green
Level of two-week cumulative incidence rate: Level Green (fewer than eight cases in the past two weeks)

Conejos County
Operating at: Level Green
Level of two-week cumulative incidence rate: Level Yellow (110.3)

Crowley County
Operating at: Level Green
Level of two-week cumulative incidence rate: Level Yellow (165.8)

Custer County
Operating at: Level Green
Level of two-week cumulative incidence rate: Level Green (fewer than eight cases in the past two weeks)

Delta County
Operating at: Level Green
Level of two-week cumulative incidence rate: Level Yellow (166.8)

Dolores County
Operating at: Level Green
Level of two-week cumulative incidence rate: Level Green (fewer than eight cases in the past two weeks)

Douglas County
Operating at: Level Yellow
Level of two-week cumulative incidence rate: Level Red (442.4)

Elbert County
Operating at: Level Yellow
Level of two-week cumulative incidence rate: Level Orange (299.8)

El Paso County
Operating at: Level Yellow
Level of two-week cumulative incidence rate: Level Red (395.2)

Fremont County
Operating at: Level Blue
Level of two-week cumulative incidence rate: Level Yellow (157.4)

Hinsdale County
Operating at: Level Green
Level of two-week cumulative incidence rate: Level Green (fewer than eight cases in the past two weeks)

Huerfano County
Operating at: Level Green
Level of two-week cumulative incidence rate: Level Yellow (145.9)

Jackson County
Operating at: Level Green
Level of two-week cumulative incidence rate: Level Green (fewer than eight cases in the past two weeks)

Kiowa County
Operating at: Level Green
Level of two-week cumulative incidence rate: Level Green (fewer than eight cases in the past two weeks)

Kit Carson County
Operating at: Level Green
Level of two-week cumulative incidence rate: Level Yellow (168.4)

Las Animas County
Operating at: Level Blue
Level of two-week cumulative incidence rate: Level Orange (193.4)

Lincoln County
Operating at: Level Green
Level of two-week cumulative incidence rate: Level Green (fewer than eight cases in the past two weeks)

Logan County
Operating at: Level Green
Level of two-week cumulative incidence rate: Level Yellow (132.3)

Mesa County
Operating at: Level Blue
Level of two-week cumulative incidence rate: Level Yellow (100)

Mineral County
Operating at: Level Green
Level of two-week cumulative incidence rate: Level Green (fewer than eight cases in the past two weeks)

Moffat County
Operating at: Level Green
Level of two-week cumulative incidence rate: Level Yellow (90.6)

Montezuma County
Operating at: Level Blue
Level of two-week cumulative incidence rate: Level Yellow (168.2)

Montrose County
Operating at: Level Green
Level of two-week cumulative incidence rate: Level Blue (65.5)

Morgan County
Operating at: Level Blue
Level of two-week cumulative incidence rate: Level Yellow (96.6)

Otero County
Operating at: Level Green
Level of two-week cumulative incidence rate: Level Yellow (120.3)

Park County
Operating at: Level Green
Level of two-week cumulative incidence rate: Level Yellow (159.2)

Phillips County
Operating at: Level Green
Level of two-week cumulative incidence rate: Level Green (fewer than eight cases in the past two weeks)

Prowers County
Operating at: Level Green
Level of two-week cumulative incidence rate: Level Blue (66)

Rio Blanco County
Operating at: Level Green
Level of two-week cumulative incidence rate: Level Orange (317.1)

Sedgwick County
Operating at: Level Green
Level of two-week cumulative incidence rate: Level Green (fewer than eight cases in the past two weeks)

Teller County
Operating at: Level Yellow
Level of two-week cumulative incidence rate: Level Red (402.3)

Washington County
Operating at: Level Green
Level of two-week cumulative incidence rate: Level Green (fewer than eight cases in the past two weeks)

Weld County
Operating at: Level Yellow
Level of two-week cumulative incidence rate: Level Red (364.2)

Yuma County
Operating at: Level Green
Level of two-week cumulative incidence rate: Level Green (fewer than eight cases in the past two weeks)

Colorado's conservative counties aren't the only ones whose stats can look concerning. Take Boulder County, whose Level Yellow rating currently allows it to operate at Level Blue rules. On April 12, Boulder County Public Health announced that the agency "will be providing a similar framework to the state’s dial for thirty days, from April 16 to May 16, with some limited modifications.... If current case incidences do not exceed 300 cases per 100,000 residents and positivity rates do not exceed 7.5 percent before April 16, Boulder County will move to Level Blue and remain on this less protective level for thirty days. Boulder County will not move levels during this thirty-day phase, starting on April 16."

But things may not happen that way. Today, Boulder has a two-week cumulative incidence rate of 319.1, above 300 and not far beneath the Level Red threshold of 350. And Its two-week average positivity rate is 4.9 percent, a whisper away from the 5 percent benchmark that health officials consider a warning sign.

Of which there could be many after April 16.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.