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Denver, Ten Other Counties at Risk of COVID-19 Stay-at-Home Orders

An image from downtown La Junta, located in Otero County.
An image from downtown La Junta, located in Otero County.

On October 27, Mayor Michael Hancock announced that Denver had moved up one position on the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's dial system for COVID-19, triggering a slew of tougher restrictions, including a reduction of capacity to 25 percent at restaurants and many businesses.

Shortly thereafter, the CDPHE confirmed that four other counties had ratcheted up the dial: Arapahoe, Otero and Crowley counties went from Safer at Home Level 1 (Cautious) to Safer at Home Level 2 (Concern), while Adams joined Denver in taking the leap from Safer at Home Level 2 to Safer at Home Level 3 (High Risk). All of the changes go into effect today, October 28, with the exception of those slated for Crowley, scheduled for Friday, October 30.

But these developments might be only the beginning. The CDPHE's dial dashboard reveals that Denver and ten other Colorado counties are seeing data in a key metric that's currently in the Stay at Home (Severe) scope — and if improvements aren't made, any or all of them could face renewed shutdown orders. In addition, 22 Colorado counties — more than a third of the 64 total in the state — are in mitigation or enforcing stricter public-health orders owing to sliding statistics.

The category to watch now is the two-week cumulative incidence rate of the novel coronavirus. Denver needs to average fewer than 175 new daily cases per 100,000 people over that span in order to return to Safer at Home Level 2 — and as of today, it's sitting at 386. That seems like a huge number, yet it's considerably larger in several other counties: 490.6 in Summit, 553 in Adams, 848.8 in Logan and an astonishing 987 in Sedgwick.

The eleven counties with a two-week cumulative incidence rate in the Stay at Home (Severe) range: Adams, Denver, Kit Carson, Logan, Phillips, Prowers, Pueblo, Sedgwick, Summit, Washington and Yuma.

Not all Colorado counties are sliding. Currently, the two-week cumulative incidence rate falls within the Protect Our Neighbors (Careful) grouping for fifteen counties: Bent, Cheyenne, Costilla, Custer, Dolores, Hinsdale, Huerfano, Jackson, Kiowa, Lincoln, Mineral, Ouray, Rio Blanco, San Juan and San Miguel. But other counties are trying to prevent further slippage in order to avoid closures that could prove devastating to the local economy right before the holidays.

Here are the 22 counties either in mitigation or enforcing stricter public-health orders mandated by the CDPHE, in their order on the dial, from bad to much, much worse:

Protect Our Neighbors (Careful) counties currently in mitigation:

Gilpin, Moffat

Safer Level 1 (Cautious) counties currently in mitigation:

Baca, Crowley, Douglas, El Paso, Fremont, Kit Carson, Montrose, Otero, Routt

Safer Level 1 (Cautious) counties currently enforcing stricter public-health orders:

Larimer, Ouray

Safer Level 2 (Concern) counties currently in mitigation:

Alamosa, Grand, Lake, Yuma

Safer Level 2 (Concern) counties currently enforcing stricter public-health orders:

Arapahoe, Summit

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Safer Level 3 (High Risk) counties currently in mitigation:

Logan

Safer Level 3 (High Risk) counties currently enforcing stricter public-health orders:

Adams, Denver

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