Over the past several weeks we’ve encouraged all area residents and visitors to continue observing the COVID-prevention public health orders and best practices that the state and the Tri-County Health Department have installed. Failure to do so, we warned, would jeopardize the variances the County received in June that have allowed businesses, churches and other organizations to reopen.
We’re now seeing the results of these efforts, and they’re very promising. After our initial warning in late-July, Arapahoe County’s COVID testing positivity rates started declining from more than 7 percent toward the state-mandated target number of 5 percent, which enabled the County to receive a one-week extension on its variance.
Since then, the numbers are even better. As of this week, the County’s testing positivity rate (a 14-day rolling average) has fallen to just above 4 percent. And in what may be the most encouraging sign of all, Tri-County also is reporting that 99 percent of Arapahoe County’s residents and visitors are wearing masks or face coverings when outside the home.
Moreover, our number of new daily cases has dropped from the mid-50s around the first of August to fewer than 20 per day this week. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) considers counties that fall into the moderate range—between 10 and 50 new cases per day over the previous two weeks—to be mostly suppressing the spread of COVID, with fewer than 10 new cases per day in the optimal “low” range.
Of course, the goal is to get all these case numbers as close to zero as possible. With schools beginning to reopen and the Labor Day weekend approaching, all Arapahoe County residents and visitors must continue to wear masks and practice social distancing and frequent hand-washing—even (or especially) when you’re among friends and family.
“My fellow commissioners and I are very encouraged by the way our COVID numbers are trending,” said Arapahoe County Board Chair Nancy Sharpe. “This shows that people are trusting our public health officials and embracing the personal responsibility that’s necessary to protect themselves and those around them. We urge everyone to continue following these guidelines until we’ve put this crisis behind us.”