Denver suburbs going on shelter-in-place order

Face masks are just one of the personal protection items greatly needed. (MGN Image)
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ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. (KKTV) - More than 2 million in the Denver metro are joining Denver proper on a mandatory stay-at-home order.

Tri-County Health Department, which consists of Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties, along with Jefferson County Public Health and Boulder County Public Health, issued the order during a news conference on Wednesday morning. Sister station KCNC reports the order goes into effect at 8 a.m. Thursday and will remain in place until April 17, which is a week longer than the one for Denver.

“There is widespread transmission of COVID-19 in the Metro Denver area, and we must take bold actions to stop the spread of this virus,” John M. Douglas, Jr., MD, executive director of Tri-County Health Department said in a statement obtained by KCNC. “With each passing day, we run a growing risk of greater transmission and illness and quickly overwhelming our hospitals, which are really a resource for our entire region and state. When this happens, not everyone may get the care they need. It’s a real possibility in Colorado -- and a situation which has already occurred in countries such as Italy -- and which is threatening to happen in major U.S. cities in other areas of our country. We understand the toll that measures to address the pandemic are having on our communities, and we want to reassure residents that this step is temporary, and a critical one to get us closer to recovery.”

Under the stay-at-home order, residents are still allowed to run essential errands such as getting food or getting prescriptions and are allowed to go outdoors for exercise provided they keep a safe distance from other people. Employees in industries deemed critical may also continue working out of the home. Otherwise, residents are asked to stay at home.

This order is in addition to the recently issued public health order for social distancing ordered by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

“Scientific evidence shows that we must act now, at this stage of the COVID-19 emergency, in order to save lives in the long-run. It will give us the time we need to test comprehensively and to slow the spread of the virus to prevent our health care system from being overwhelmed,” said Jeff Zayach, Boulder County Public Health executive director, in a statement.