DENVER (CBS4)– The Colorado Association of Local Public Health Officials has sent a letter to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, calling for stricter adherence to criteria on the COVID-19 dial and its different levels. The letter first released in a story by Colorado Public Radio includes a call for more rapid change when local communities experience rising COVID-19 levels.
“Like you and our county leaders, we would like to keep our community sectors and businesses as open as possible, but worry about delaying the ‘strong medicine’ of a Level change until it is too late to be effective,” states the letter.
“I think what it needs to be is something that’s a little bit more coordinated throughout the metro region,” said Dr. Margaret Huffman, director of community health services for Jefferson County Public Health. She was among the signees, along with other local health department leaders from Denver, Broomfield, Boulder, Tri-County Public Health, Kiowa and Lincoln County. “We are really seeking that our messages are aligned, that our interventions are aligned, and that we’re all together on this.”
The letter states, “We are concerned that with the steep acceleration of cases and hospitalizations, these delays will reduce the value of the additional restrictions provided in the higher level, essentially rendering them ‘too little, too late.’”
Huffman further explained, “We really need to make sure that in concert and that we’re bridging everything together across a public health system and that involves everybody.”
All across the Denver metro area, businesses are looking at the potential of another shutdown as positivity rates, cases and hospitalizations rise.
“You just don’t know what you’re going to wake up to,” said Erika Haney, owner of “At the Shop,” a salon on Huron Street north of 20th Street.
She is about to celebrate the shop’s first anniversary in business and it hasn’t been easy.
“I think that it is high stress for us just being in Denver County because every day is just different,” she explained.
It would be hard if there’s another shutdown, but even if Denver were to shut down as part of an effort to match up dial levels with other metro cities she said, “We’ve kind of mentally prepared for it. Financially maybe we’re not ready… that’s really scary and that doesn’t seem fair, but I also feel like that it might be better if we all were the same so we all can kind of get on track together.”
Gov. Jared Polis’ office replied to the letter with a statement:
“For Colorado to get through this pandemic and come out stronger and more resilient, we all need to do our part, that means local, state, and federal governments along with people at home. We created the dial system because this virus is impacting communities in a different way, what is happening in Denver county is different than Jackson county. It’s important to remember that local jurisdictions have always had the ability to enact more restrictive policies than those outlined in the dial and we need to trust that they will do what to protect the health and safety of their residents. However, if there comes a time where we could lose lives due to lack of medical capacity the Governor will not hesitate to take statewide action.”