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COVID Safety Issues in Colorado's Pro-Trump Counties

A drone's eye view of Greeley in Weld County, currently at Level Red on the state's COVID-19 dial dashboard.
A drone's eye view of Greeley in Weld County, currently at Level Red on the state's COVID-19 dial dashboard.
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On April 13, three days before the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's dial dashboard, which established COVID-19 safety protocols across the state, went from compulsory to advisory (leaving just a handful of state regulations in force), we published "Colorado Counties That Could Dump COVID Safety Rules This Week." Our prime candidates were counties that voted for President Donald Trump in November 2020.

Two weeks later, our predictions have come to pass. The forty Colorado counties that have instituted no local COVID rules include all 38 that favored Trump last year, and the overwhelming majority of them have COVID-19 vaccination rates below the top tier of Colorado counties — often well below it. And over two-thirds of these counties are now at Level Yellow, Level Orange or Level Red on the CDPHE dial they no longer follow.

The two counties that chose Joe Biden over Trump in November 2020 that haven't enacted a local COVID safety plan are Garfield and Saguache.

Since the dial's April 16 transition, the information it provides has been tweaked. One map differentiates the forty counties with no local COVID-19 public health ordinances in place from the 24 that have created their own framework — typically a modified approach to the dial. (Denver is in the latter group.) A second page continues to track the cumulative two-week COVID incidence rate, and while its key lists the parameters for the Level Green (fewer than 25 cases per 100,000 people), Level Blue (25-75 cases), Level Yellow (75-175 cases) and Level Orange (175-300 cases), Level Red has been replaced by Level Purple, under which the word "Null" appears in lieu of case numbers.

But the map itself still shows counties at Level Red, formerly defined by more than 350 cases over two weeks, and eight of the pro-Trump counties were in that range on April 26: Dolores, Douglas, El Paso, Elbert, Fremont, Grand, Teller and Weld. Another seven were at Level Yellow and thirteen were at Level Orange — positions that would have carried significant restrictions under the previous dial rules — while twelve generally less populous counties were at Level Green.

Colorado also maintains a vaccine dashboard that tracks the percentage of a county's eligible population (currently individuals age sixteen and over) who've received at least one shot. Of the state's 64 counties, 26 had vaccination rates above 50 percent on April 26, and only six of them voted for Trump; the pacesetter is Mineral (73.2 percent), followed by Douglas (57.7 percent), Hinsdale (56.8 percent), Grand (56.4 percent), Rio Grande (55.6 percent) and Costilla (52.7 percent). The other 32 pro-Trump Colorado are below that 50 percent threshold, with several at or near the barrel's bottom. The lowest vaccination rates in Colorado's Trump country were registered by Bent (18.1 percent) and Crowley (16.7 percent).

Of course, political ideology isn't the only issue that could account for low vaccination rates; access plays into the formula, too. But the fact that not a single pro-Trump county in Colorado enacted local COVID safety rules is hard to ignore.

Here are the Colorado counties with no local COVID-19 public health orders in place, along with their April 26 vaccination percentages and CDPHE dial colors, plus links to their 2020 election results from the Colorado Secretary of State's website. (Note that the presidential vote in Kiowa County last November put Trump on top by a margin of 795 to 98.)

Alamosa
Local Public Health Order in Place: No
Vaccination percentage as of April 26: 48.8 percent
CDPHE Dial Dashboard color on April 26: Level Orange
Voted for Trump in 2020: Yes

Baca
Local Public Health Order in Place: No
Vaccination percentage as of April 26: 36.8 percent
CDPHE Dial Dashboard color on April 26: Level Green
Voted for Trump in 2020: Yes

Bent
Local Public Health Order in Place: No
Vaccination percentage as of April 26: 18.1 percent
CDPHE Dial Dashboard color on April 26: Level Orange
Voted for Trump in 2020: Yes

Cheyenne
Local Public Health Order in Place: No
Vaccination percentage as of April 26: 28.2 percent
CDPHE Dial Dashboard color on April 26: Level Green
Voted for Trump in 2020: Yes

Conejos
Local Public Health Order in Place: No
Vaccination percentage as of April 26: 41.5 percent
CDPHE Dial Dashboard color on April 26: Level Orange
Voted for Trump in 2020: Yes

Costilla
Local Public Health Order in Place: No
Vaccination percentage as of April 26: 52.7 percent
CDPHE Dial Dashboard color on April 26: Level Green
Voted for Trump in 2020: Yes

Crowley
Local Public Health Order in Place: No
Vaccination percentage as of April 26: 16.7 percent
CDPHE Dial Dashboard color on April 26: Level Green
Voted for Trump in 2020: Yes

Custer
Local Public Health Order in Place: No
Vaccination percentage as of April 26: 41.4 percent
CDPHE Dial Dashboard color on April 26: Level Orange
Voted for Trump in 2020: Yes

Delta
Local Public Health Order in Place: No
Vaccination percentage as of April 26: 40.1 percent
CDPHE Dial Dashboard color on April 26: Level Orange
Voted for Trump in 2020: Yes

Dolores
Local Public Health Order in Place: No
Vaccination percentage as of April 26: 36.4 percent
CDPHE Dial Dashboard color on April 26: Level Red
Voted for Trump in 2020: Yes

Douglas
Local Public Health Order in Place: No
Vaccination percentage as of April 26: 57.7 percent
CDPHE Dial Dashboard color on April 26: Level Red
Voted for Trump in 2020: Yes

El Paso
Local Public Health Order in Place: No
Vaccination percentage as of April 26: 40.9 percent
CDPHE Dial Dashboard color on April 26: Level Red
Voted for Trump in 2020: Yes

Elbert
Local Public Health Order in Place: No
Vaccination percentage as of April 26: 27.8 percent
CDPHE Dial Dashboard color on April 26: Level Red
Voted for Trump in 2020: Yes

Fremont
Local Public Health Order in Place: No
Vaccination percentage as of April 26: 33.1 percent
CDPHE Dial Dashboard color on April 26: Level Red
Voted for Trump in 2020: Yes

Garfield
Local Public Health Order in Place: No
Vaccination percentage as of April 26: 51.1 percent
CDPHE Dial Dashboard color on April 26: Level Orange
Voted for Trump in 2020: No

Grand
Local Public Health Order in Place: No
Vaccination percentage as of April 26: 56.4 percent
CDPHE Dial Dashboard color on April 26: Level Red
Voted for Trump in 2020: Yes

Hinsdale
Local Public Health Order in Place: No
Vaccination percentage as of April 26: 56.8 percent
CDPHE Dial Dashboard color on April 26: Level Green
Voted for Trump in 2020: Yes

Jackson
Local Public Health Order in Place: No
Vaccination percentage as of April 26: 36.8 percent
CDPHE Dial Dashboard color on April 26: Level Green
Voted for Trump in 2020: Yes

Kiowa
Local Public Health Order in Place: No
Vaccination percentage as of April 26: 36 percent
CDPHE Dial Dashboard color on April 26: Level Green
Voted for Trump in 2020: Yes

Kit Carson
Local Public Health Order in Place: No
Vaccination percentage as of April 26: 33.6 percent
CDPHE Dial Dashboard color on April 26: Level Green
Voted for Trump in 2020: Yes

Lincoln
Local Public Health Order in Place: No
Vaccination percentage as of April 26: 31 percent
CDPHE Dial Dashboard color on April 26: Level Green
Voted for Trump in 2020: Yes

Logan
Local Public Health Order in Place: No
Vaccination percentage as of April 26: 29.4 percent
CDPHE Dial Dashboard color on April 26: Level Orange
Voted for Trump in 2020: Yes

Mesa
Local Public Health Order in Place: No
Vaccination percentage as of April 26: 40.5 percent
CDPHE Dial Dashboard color on April 26: Level Orange
Voted for Trump in 2020: Yes

Mineral
Local Public Health Order in Place: No
Vaccination percentage as of April 26: 73.2 percent
CDPHE Dial Dashboard color on April 26: Level Green
Voted for Trump in 2020: Yes

Moffat
Local Public Health Order in Place: No
Vaccination percentage as of April 26: 33.6 percent
CDPHE Dial Dashboard color on April 26: Level Yellow
Voted for Trump in 2020: Yes

Montezuma
Local Public Health Order in Place: No
Vaccination percentage as of April 26: 46.7 percent
CDPHE Dial Dashboard color on April 26: Level Yellow
Voted for Trump in 2020: Yes

Montrose
Local Public Health Order in Place: No
Vaccination percentage as of April 26: 42 percent
CDPHE Dial Dashboard color on April 26: Level Yellow
Voted for Trump in 2020: Yes

Morgan
Local Public Health Order in Place: No
Vaccination percentage as of April 26: 39.1 percent
CDPHE Dial Dashboard color on April 26: Level Yellow
Voted for Trump in 2020: Yes

Otero
Local Public Health Order in Place: No
Vaccination percentage as of April 26: 41.2 percent
CDPHE Dial Dashboard color on April 26: Level Orange
Voted for Trump in 2020: Yes

Park
Local Public Health Order in Place: No
Vaccination percentage as of April 26: 37.6 percent
CDPHE Dial Dashboard color on April 26: Level Orange
Voted for Trump in 2020: Yes

Phillips
Local Public Health Order in Place: No
Vaccination percentage as of April 26: 46.6 percent
CDPHE Dial Dashboard color on April 26: Level Orange
Voted for Trump in 2020: Yes

Prowers
Local Public Health Order in Place: No
Vaccination percentage as of April 26: 34.5 percent
CDPHE Dial Dashboard color on April 26: Level Yellow
Voted for Trump in 2020: Yes

Rio Blanco
Local Public Health Order in Place: No
Vaccination percentage as of April 26: 32.3 percent
CDPHE Dial Dashboard color on April 26: Level Orange
Voted for Trump in 2020: Yes

Rio Grande
Local Public Health Order in Place: No
Vaccination percentage as of April 26: 55.6 percent
CDPHE Dial Dashboard color on April 26: Level Yellow
Voted for Trump in 2020: Yes

Saguache
Local Public Health Order in Place: No
Vaccination percentage as of April 26: 30.7 percent
CDPHE Dial Dashboard color on April 26: Level Orange
Voted for Trump in 2020: No

Sedgwick
Local Public Health Order in Place: No
Vaccination percentage as of April 26: 46.6 percent
CDPHE Dial Dashboard color on April 26: Level Green
Voted for Trump in 2020: Yes

Teller
Local Public Health Order in Place: No
Vaccination percentage as of April 26: 44.9 percent
CDPHE Dial Dashboard color on April 26: Level Red
Voted for Trump in 2020: Yes

Washington
Local Public Health Order in Place: No
Vaccination percentage as of April 26: 27.4 percent
CDPHE Dial Dashboard color on April 26: Level Green
Voted for Trump in 2020: Yes

Weld
Local Public Health Order in Place: No
Vaccination percentage as of April 26: 48.2 percent
CDPHE Dial Dashboard color on April 26: Level Red
Voted for Trump in 2020: Yes

Yuma
Local Public Health Order in Place: No
Vaccination percentage as of April 26: 40.2 percent
CDPHE Dial Dashboard color on April 26: Level Yellow
Voted for Trump in 2020: Yes

Below, see a summary of the State of Colorado public-health mandates that remain in place statewide:

• Requires that all businesses and government entities consider reasonable accommodations for individuals who cannot access or cannot take COVID-19 vaccines, follow the mask executive order, and strongly
encourages following CDPHE sector guidance for disease mitigation.

• Requires 6 feet distancing and masks for mass indoor gatherings, defined as gatherings in public indoor spaces that exceed 100 individuals, and caps these gatherings at no more than 500 people absent a variance. Exempts places of worship, retail settings, restaurants that have seated dining and do not have gathering spaces that allow for more than 100 people to congregate, and allows local public health agencies to approve proms and graduation plans in excess of these caps in accordance with CDPHE guidance.

• Requires schools to follow the CDPHE schools and child care outbreak guidance and further requires that when learning is all remote, extracurricular activities are not authorized in person.

• Requires CDPHE approval of all outdoor seated, ticket event venues in excess of 30,000 square feet, in consultation with the local public health agency.

• Continues existing hospital reporting requirements.

• Continues authority for CDPHE to require additional restrictions for any county when a county's resident hospitalizations threaten to exceed 85 percent of hospital or hospital system capacity.

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