List of the 15 counties in Colorado that will move to ‘red’ on Friday, most indoor services like indoor dining must be closed

Published: Nov. 17, 2020 at 5:45 PM MST
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DENVER (KKTV) - Nearly two dozen Colorado counties are expected to move to new restrictions on Friday as the state continues to see unprecedented numbers of cases and hospitalizations.

The move doesn’t just include urban counties with high populations; a few counties on the list count just several thousand in their population, a troubling indicator that the virus is everywhere in the state, even in its most rural areas.

Gov. Jared Polis announced the move Tuesday, along with an announcement that the state’s COVID-19 dial framework was adding a sixth category for counties with the most extreme levels of infections.

“Right now in the here and now, we in Colorado need to act to stop this exponential growth to save lives and save our economy."

Tuesday saw 4,331 new cases -- and that could be a low number this week.

“We typically have lower [numbers] early in the week because of less tests over the weekend that were processed,” Polis said.

One thousand three hundred and seventy-eight are currently hospitalized, putting a strain on the state’s health systems. A hospital in Pueblo reached capacity Monday, though has since dipped back below 100 percent after sending some patients elsewhere.

“There are more Coloradans hospitalized from COVID today than in March and April,” Polis said.

Every holiday since the pandemic began -- Fourth of July, Labor Day -- has seen a surge in cases follow, and the two biggest holidays of the year remain on the horizon. Also lurking in the weeks ahead: some of the coldest weather of the year.

“Seeing the exponential growth that we are experiencing, we clearly need a more drastic shift in behavior to further slow the transmission of this virus ... so due to grim news of the rapid increase in hospitalizations, we are taking action to prevent a catastrophic breach in health care. That means several counties are going into the red phase [on the COVID dial], which results in additional steps to make sure they can recover and avoid any kind of stay-at-home or shutdown or lockdown.”

Those counties are:

· Adams

· Arapahoe

· Boulder

· Broomfield

· Clear Creek

· Denver

· Douglas

· Jefferson

· La Plata

· Logan

· Mesa

· Morgan

· Routt

· Summit

· Washington

Level red had been the highest level on the state’s dial but is now the second-highest with the addition of level purple. With the addition of level purple, moving into the red category no longer means a stay-at-home order, but does bring with it stringent restrictions. Bars and indoor dining are closed, gyms are reduced to a 10 percent capacity with a reservation system in place, and most other indoor activities are prohibited or strictly limited. Takeout, curbside and delivery options remain available, and Polis urged Coloradans to continue patronizing their favorite restaurants in that way.

“I encourage you to join me in supporting our restaurants during these challenging times.”

Most indoor activities are prohibited or strictly limited, and outdoor activities are encouraged as an alternative. The capacity limits are significant. Indoor dining is closed, but take out, curbside, delivery and to-go options are still available.

Both El Paso and Pueblo Counties remained in the “orange” level as of Tuesday, or high-risk category. That could change at any time. The city of Pueblo tweeted Tuesday night that its mayor anticipated a move would happen this week. Discussions between the city of Pueblo, the county and the county health department was expected Thursday.

The orange level is a step better than red. Orange is for counties where numbers are going up but not to the point where everything needs to be shut down. The capacity limits are moderate.

CDPHE has notified the following counties that they will move to level orange on Friday:

· Costilla

· Custer

· Lake

· Montezuma

· Pitkin

· San Juan

CDPHE has notified the following counties that they will move to level yellow on Friday:

· Las Animas

· Gunnison

The worst level after red is “purple” or extreme risk for COVID-19. This is a new level that was put in place for counties where hospital capacity is at extreme risk of being overrun. At the purple level, all businesses must significantly curtail in-person functions, and people must stay at home except for necessary activities.

For more on the restrictions for each level, click here. For more on how the dial works and how the state determines whether a county moves up or down a level, click here.

WATCH: Gov. Jared Polis is giving an update on Colorado's COVID-19 response as cases continue to skyrocket across much of the state and many counties see case levels unprecedented during this pandemic.

Posted by KKTV 11 News on Tuesday, November 17, 2020

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