Three Metro Denver Public Health Departments Issue Stay-At-Home Orders to Stop the Spread of COVID-19
Three public health departments serving more than 2 million residents across the Metro Denver region joined together to issue Stay-At-Home Public Health Orders in their counties today, effective March 26 at 8 a.m. until April 17 at 11:59 p.m. unless officials determine it is in the interest of public health to expire at an earlier date and time. The departments include Boulder County Public Health, Jefferson County Public Health and Tri- County Health Department (which serves Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas Counties).
“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,” said John M. Douglas, Jr., MD, executive director of Tri-County Health Department. “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.”
These Stay-At-Home Orders are in addition to other recently issued public health orders that promote social distancing, such as those from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. While beneficial, we do not believe they have done enough to slow transmission. The Stay-At-Home Orders go a step further by requiring individuals to do their part by staying at home and away from others.
The Public Health Orders require that all people in each county stay at their place of residence, and that they make every effort possible to conduct only essential activities necessary to maintain health and well-being, such as getting groceries, obtaining medical supplies or medication, and/or engaging in outdoor activities like walking, hiking or running while following other social distancing practices.
Work to provide essential business and government services or perform essential public infrastructure construction, including housing, is also permitted. People at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and people who are sick are urged to stay in their residence except to seek medical care.
“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.
“The virus is easily spread through person-to-person contact, and the risk of transmission is much greater when people are in close proximity,” said Dr. Mark B. Johnson, Jefferson County Public Health executive director. “This order will help protect everyone in our community by ensuring social distancing measures are followed. By taking this action now, we can start to flatten the pandemic curve.”
Examples of Activities Permitted and Not Permitted Under the Stay-At-Home Orders*
- Getting medical care for you, a family member or your pet
- Visiting a health care professional
- Getting medical supplies or medication
- Going to get groceries, food (via takeout, drive-thru, food banks/pantries) or other essential household items
- Getting supplies to work from home
- Picking up materials from your child’s school needed for distance learning (tablet, books)
- Going outside for physical activity, as long as you stay at least 6 feet away from people who are not in your household and follow social distancing practices
- Going to work, ONLY if you provide essential products or services at an essential business (health care operations, infrastructure operations and maintenance, certain government functions)
- In-person public or private gatherings of any size with people outside of your residence
- Traveling, except to get or provide essential services or medical care
- Carpooling with anyone outside of your residence
*This is not a comprehensive list. Please refer to the orders for a complete list of essential activities and services, as well as social distancing requirements.
During the stay-at-home period, we encourage our communities to stay connected with one another and take steps to maintain health and well-being. Here are some ideas:
• Call or video chat with friends, neighbors and family.
• Go for a walk outside, but keep at least 6 feet away from others.
• Plan a family game night with people who already live in your home.
• Read a good book, listen to music or stream a favorite show.
• Cook a healthy meal.
• Get a head-start on spring cleaning.
• Do arts and crafts — get creative and use what’s available in your home.