A letter to our community: The Board of Public Health’s approach to best practices
The Moffat County Board of Health is committed to limiting the risks and protecting each other from the COVID-19 virus. The citizens of Moffat County have a rich history of working together for our community while valuing freedom of choice. Even though there is much we do not know about the COVID-19 virus and how to deal with it, we do want to provide our citizens with the available information and help them navigate the state public health orders in order to safely transition to a more normal economy and activity level. We want community education and personal responsibility to carry us to a safe and economically viable future, rather than an enforcement regime.
On March 26, 2020 the Governor of Colorado issued a statewide Stay – at – Home Order, encouraging all people in Colorado to stay home except for essential needs. That order was in effect through 11:59 P.M. on April 11, 2020, and was extended after that time. That Order was intended to minimize contact between people as much as possible to minimize the spread of COVID-19. It effectively limits the opportunities for people to come in contact with potentially contaminated surfaces. These actions are necessary to slow the spread of disease, reduce the number of people who become severely ill or die, and protect our health care system.
On April 27 Governor Polis announced the Safer at Home executive order. Coloradans should continue staying home as much as possible. The order also directs vulnerable populations, including seniors, to continue staying home, only leaving when absolutely necessary.
“For the vast majority of us, this new phase won’t look much different than the last,” Polis said in an emailed statement Monday afternoon. “This new safer at home phase is meant to establish a level of social distancing that can be sustained for a longer period of time. It will allow us to gradually relax some of these restrictions on our economy and our society while protecting our health care system and our most vulnerable residents.”
The Governor’s press release said the “Safer at Home” order outlines the options local governments will have, as well. City and county governments can implement the guidelines of “Safer at Home” to match the State. They can go further than the State, including but not limited to stay-at-home orders or additional protective measures.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) outlines the options available to local governments as things move forward:
- Local governments can implement the guidelines of Safer-at-Home to match the State.
- Local governments can go farther than the State, including but not limited to extended stay-at-home orders or additional protective measures.
- Local governments can relax guidelines more than the State. To do so, they will need to demonstrate proof of 14 consecutive days of a decline in COVID-19 infections in the County. They also must submit an application to CDPHE that includes a written COVID-19 suppression plan approved by the appropriate local public health authority, all hospitals within the jurisdiction, elected leadership and approved by the State.
Safer at Home fast facts:
- Essential and non-essential business employees are required to wear a mask according to the Governor’s Executive Orders
- Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands frequently and don’t touch your face
- Maintain social distancing
On April 28 Kari Ladrow, (Public Health Director) Dr. Brian Harrington (Public Health Medical Officer) and Andy Daniels (Memorial Regional Health-CEO) and the Moffat County Board of Health (County Commissioners) signed and sent the County’s phase-one suppression plan and letter to CDPHE (Jill Ryan) and to Governor Polis. The plan requested variances for retail businesses, gyms, places of worship and theaters. On May 4 Moffat County received an email from the state indicating we needed to fill out an application to the variance request portal, which was immediately done. The letter and plan are now awaiting approval from CDPHE and the Governor’s office.
The Moffat County Board of Heath (BOH) wants to get our economy going safely and as quickly as possible. The BOH is statutorily responsible for the health and welfare of the citizens of Moffat County. We are trying to find that balance of not wanting to be too restrictive and also being conscious of the virus and the impacts it could have if we don’t all do our part to maintain social distancing. The Commissioners strongly encourage and recommend that each and every one take personal responsibility and adhere to the state’s executive orders. It is incumbent on all of us to do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the curve. Practice social distancing, and wear a mask when you are in a public or in close contact with others outside of your immediate family group. We are all in this together and we will come out on the other side much stronger for it.
If you have a mitigation plan for your business, organization, or activity please submit it to the Dropbox link (https://www.dropbox.com/request/2mjgJGtdwZCCTsVKcR9y) on the County Public Health webpage. Also include a good contact number and email address. Your plan will be reviewed by the Moffat County Public Health Department, which will then bring their recommendations to the commissioners at a Board of Health meeting. Through education, an emphasis on personal responsibility, and assistance from our Public Health Department, we hope to make local decisions for local citizens and avoid unnecessary oversight by state government. For more information, or if you have questions, on how you can keep Moffat County safe from COVID 19 and return our economy, go to https://covid19moffatcounty.godaddysites.com/
As soon as we hear from the State about our phase one plan, we will certainly inform the public. In the meantime, stay healthy and stay safe through this pandemic.
Moffat County Board of Public Health
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