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Larimer County Submits Variance Seeking to Safely Reopen Businesses Ahead of State Orders

May 18, 2020 | Local News

Special to the Surveyor

Larimer County Public Health has submitted a variance request seeking state approval to slowly reopen businesses ahead of the statewide safer at home restrictions.  

According to a press release from the LCPH, Larimer County residents have done a, “great job flattening the curve.” Face coverings, social distancing, handwashing and frequent cleaning all help slow the spread of the virus in the community. Those precautions must continue in order to allow Larimer County to move forward with reopening businesses as safer at home restrictions are lifted. 

The next step is for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to review and approve some or all of the variance submitted by Larimer County. Once approvals have been determined, the health department will be working with businesses on next steps to safely reopen. 

Counties are allowed to submit for a variance to the statewide safer at home orders certifying that the county can document the following criteria:

  • Prevalence of COVID 19 within the county; such as demonstration of consecutive days of decline in COVID-19 cases reported in the county.
  • Community-wide testing; COVID-19 testing needs to be readily available for all symptomatic individuals. 
  • Hospital capacity is well-managed; the number of ICU beds and ventilators are adequate, and enough PPE is available to handle the current COVID-19 cases.
  • Local containment measures; such as how the county will detect new cases and contain the threat of an outbreak. 

The application must include a COVID-19 suppression plan approved by the local public health agency, all hospitals within the county and a majority of county commissioners. 

Local businesses want to reopen safely and thoughtfully, and this variance process allows Larimer County to continue that process. 

“All the public health measures and sacrifices we have taken in Larimer County have been successful in flattening the curve by decreasing the number of deaths, hospitalizations, and ICU utilizations, unfortunately the curve does not go away,” says Tom Gonzales, Public Health Director for Larimer County. “The health department will continue to collaborate with our hospitals daily to monitor capacity triggers and are pleased that we can slowly reopen business ahead of the statewide safer at home restrictions”

As part of the suppression plan, early warning indicators have been developed to help monitor the health of the hospital systems related to COVID-19. As restrictions continue to be lifted, early warning indicators will be closely monitored to make sure reopening businesses is not causing a strain on local hospital systems.  

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