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Larimer County Not Yet Eligible for State COVID-19 5 Star Certification Program, but Data is Improving

By: Special to the Surveyor | December 18, 2020 | Business

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment announced the “5 Star Certification Program” this week, which allows counties to apply for the program once they meet certain metrics and criteria for a period of time.

The voluntary program encourages businesses to take steps beyond what is already required by Public Health orders and guidelines to help slow the spread of COVID-19, and be able to accelerate reopening and be eligible for less restrictive capacity limits. The program requires that there is a two-week sustained decline in cases, a positivity percentage lower than 10% or demonstrably improving over the past two weeks, fewer than 90% of ICU beds in use, and steady or declining regional hospitalizations.

Larimer County is seeing progress in declining case counts as a county. Positivity rates for COVID-19 testing are beginning to drop in the community, and hospitalizations are starting to decline. While Larimer County doesn’t meet the requirements to move forward with the 5 Star Certification Program, the county is on the right path and trends are aligned with being able to open at higher capacity levels with stricter requirements in place. This is due to the diligence of Larimer County residents in limiting their interactions with other households and wearing face coverings.

Currently, Larimer County Public Health is working with the Larimer area Chambers and the county economic development team to determine how best to implement this program and prepare the application to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Larimer County is referring to this 5 Star Certification Program as the “Level Up Program”

“Because of the high degree of collaboration we have with the Public Health Department and throughout the business community, we have been able to move swiftly to align our work with the State’s 5 Star Certification Program. We are doing a lot of work behind the scenes right now and will not waste a minute in implementing the program once we’ve been given the green light”, said Jacob Castillo, Economic and Workforce Development Director.

“We want our businesses operating at the safest capacity possible, and the more we continue to follow the protective measures and guidance the closer we can get to achieving the required metrics to receive approval from the state,” said Tom Gonzales, public health director. “While we finally see a light at the end of the tunnel with a vaccine for now we need to continue limiting interactions outside of our household and wearing face coverings.”

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