Moffat County Board of Public Health to submit specialized mitigation plan to state to remain in Level Orange
Local small businesses and restaurants could still be eligible for state funding if CDPHE approves Moffat County’s Level Orange mitigation plan following extension request
Moffat County’s Board of Public Health requested an extension from the state to make a decision regarding a voluntary move to Level Red, or stay in Level Orange. At this time, the Board of Public Health is working on a mitigation plan to submit to the state, keeping Moffat County in Level Orange while local officials hope to secure eligibility for local businesses and restaurants.
In an official release from the Board of Public Health, they stated Moffat County will remain at Level Orange: High Risk, and will submit to the state a mitigation plan tailored to the unique needs of the county.
For now, Moffat County plans to remain in Orange until next Tuesday, where the Board of Public Health hopes the state approves the mitigation plan. If the state denies the mitigation plan, Moffat County could be forced down to Level Red. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment could decide to move Moffat County to Level Red at any time.
According to Commissioner Ray Beck, the Board of Public Health reached out to Grand County, which has a hybrid Orange/Red mitigation model that the state accepted in late November.
Under that model, Grand County was able to submit a mitigation plan to CDPHE that kept the county in Level Orange, yet borrowed some restriction language from Level Red, all while keeping local small businesses eligible for state funding.
Moffat County’s mitigation plan will be drafted with collaboration from the County Board of Health, the City of Craig, local law enforcement and the local business community. Once submitted to the state, the mitigation plan and strategies will be shared with the community.
The county’s Board of Public Health previously met on Monday, Dec. 7 to discuss the possible voluntary move to Level Red. In that meeting, Public Health Director Kari Ladrow stated that due to Moffat County’s high case counts (currently sitting at 480 cases) and a positive rate of 18% — which is one of the worst in the state of Colorado — are reasons why the state was previously considering moving Moffat County to red.
Following the passage of Senate Bill 2020-001, CDPHE began asking counties with high case counts and positivity rates to move to Level Red voluntarily, making those counties’ small businesses and restaurants eligible for as much as $7,000 per business in state funding.
While it was clear what state funding was available with a voluntary move down to Level Red, the Board of Public Health – made up of current county commissioners – stated that they needed more information on what they’d be giving up, in terms of capacity size and possible financial ramifications on local businesses and restaurants, with a move down to Level Red.
“If there’s any way possible to stay in the Orange, I’d rather do that to the extent that we can,” Commissioner Ray Beck stated Monday at the first Public Health meeting. “Any money that we have coming from the state is going to benefit the community, but it would be more of a benefit to the community if we keep the community open; that’s just my 2 cents.”
This is a developing story. The Craig Press will provide more information as it becomes available.
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While the state of Colorado will receive much less in vaccines in the second major rollout than expected, Moffat County continues to roll along vaccinating community members with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.