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La Plata County adopts stricter regulations to reduce COVID-19 spread

Last calls for alcohol, private gatherings affected starting Monday as cases rise

With COVID-19 cases on the rise in La Plata County, tighter restrictions will be re-enacted Monday, including earlier last-call times and a lower limit to the number of people at personal gatherings.

“These are small changes to have a big impact as we move into more inside activities and the holidays,” said Liane Jollon, executive director of San Juan Basin Public Health.

As of Friday, La Plata County has had 367 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases since the pandemic broke out in March, with 65 of those positive cases reported in the past two weeks.

A large portion of the rise, according to SJBPH, is transmission among social groups.

In an effort to target spread among social groups, the two major regulations that will change Monday are moving the last call for alcohol times from midnight to 11 p.m. and limiting private gatherings from 25 to 10 people.

Officially, La Plata County will move to the “Safer at Home Level 2” regulations Monday after having been on the less-restrictive “Level 1.”

The state of Colorado sets metrics for what level of regulations counties should be in based on positivity rates, adjusted for population, in a 14-week period, said Brian Devine with SJBPH.

Safer at Home Level 1, for instance, requires the positivity rate to be below 75 cases in a 14-day period per 100,000 residents.

La Plata County’s positivity rate went over that metric Oct. 12 and again Oct. 22.

Devine said the state orders provide for a consultation and review period when counties exceed the numbers for their level.

“With cases rising around the state and over half of counties in the review period, we chose to be proactive and act to protect our schools and our economy,” Devine said.

By acting now, SJBPH says it is trying to slow the spread of COVID-19, so even more restrictive measures won’t have to be put in place, which could affect schools offering in person instruction and the tourism economy.

“If you wait, it will be harder and harder to contain the disease,” Jollon said.

With lower rates of community transmission, Archuleta County will remain at Safer at Home Level 1 for the time being, SJBPH said.


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