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Boulder County working on area-wide stay at home order

Officials also announce positive coronavirus cases rise to 47


Boulder County officials Tuesday afternoon announced they are preparing “a coordinated approach” to implementing stay-at-home public health orders, which is expected to build on the directive issued late Monday by Boulder City Manager Jane Brautigam in response to the coronavirus.

The announcement came as the number of known reported positive cases in Boulder County reached 47.

Also Tuesday, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment released new statistics, showing the state with 912 cases across 35 counties, with 11 deaths resulting from the pandemic. Of those confirmed positive with COVID-19, 84 are hospitalized. A total of 7,701 people have been tested. The department advised that its numbers released Tuesday only reflected data gathered through Monday.

The majority of Colorado cases, 52%, are clustered between the ages of 30 and 59, with the most impacted age bracket being 40-49, with 17% of the confirmed cases.

There are seven confirmed outbreaks at residential and non-hospital health fare facilities in Colorado, according to the CDPHE.

Boulder County Public Health Executive Director Jeff Zayach said the goal of any countywide order is to reduce the spread of the coronavirus in the county.

“We anticipate public announcement of these orders this week, potentially as early as Wednesday morning,” he said. “We want to ensure that these policies are crafted to be effective and are as consistent as possible across our communities.”

The same message was tweeted out by the office of Boulder Emergency Management.

The city’s measure, which took effect at 5 p.m. Tuesday, allows for a significant number of exemptions for those whose businesses or activities are deemed essential. It comes on the second day of local school districts’ spring break, plans for which already had been essentially scuttled by the unprecedented near cessation of a public life.

It was just 10 days ago, on March 14, that Boulder County announced its first positive COVID-19 test for one of its residents. By late Tuesday, the total had climbed to 47 people ranging in age from their teens to their 80s, including an employee of Boulder Community Health, a competitive cyclist and a University of Colorado student who had been attending St. Patrick’s Day gatherings near campus at a time when social distancing was already being strongly encouraged.

“Unfortunately, four Boulder County residents are currently hospitalized,” said Boulder County Public Health spokeswoman Chana Goussetis.

“The good news is that 20 people have recovered. This increase in positive test results is likely related to testing access rather than incidence of COVID-19 in the community due to inadequate testing ability. There is communitywide spread of the disease in Boulder County.”

Late Monday, Goussetis said one of the people who tested positive in the county were in hospice care, but it was not clear whether that individual required hospice care before receiving the positive test result.

Boulder County’s official positive coronavirus test numbers very likely do not fully reflect the true number of people in the county who have the virus, since there are numerous people who are sick with COVID-19, but whose test results aren’t yet known or have not yet been tested because they don’t currently meet the criteria for testing.

The order issued Monday by Boulder City Manager Jane Brautigam for Boulder residents is to last through at least 5 p.m. April 10 — with the potential that it could be extended. It mandated that all city residents and businesses were to stay at home amid the worsening public health crisis in the region.

It opened with the words “All individuals in the City of Boulder are ordered to stay at their place of residence.”

The city of Boulder order limited activity to essential businesses, and allowed travel, including on public transit, to and from places such as  hardware stores, banks, food and grocery stores, gas stations, agricultural operations, laundromats, shipping businesses, marijuana and liquor stores, home-based care for seniors, taxis, media and newspaper services, and restaurants only for delivery and takeout, among other places.

Boulder’s directive, which carried 26 separate categories of individuals exempted from its constraints, mirrored a similar order issued in Denver that initially closed liquor stores and dispensaries before a reversal allowed businesses of those kinds that could achieve proper social distancing to remain open.

The Boulder City Council was set to discuss with local health and emergency management experts the pandemic’s spread in Boulder County, Brautigam’s order and other potential additional measures at its Tuesday evening meeting. The meeting was to be conducted entirely online.

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