Citing rapidly improving COVID-19 conditions, vaccine availability, and a well-established range of effective prevention measures, the Tri-County Health Department Board of Health (BOH) voted to direct Dr. John Douglas, Tri-County’s Executive Director, to let mask requirements expire in Adams and Arapahoe counties as of Feb. 5 in both schools and public indoor spaces.
The BOH made this decision at a Special Meeting on Jan. 31. The BOH decided that this week was an appropriate time to end masking requirements via public health order and to allow schools and communities to decide what works best in their contexts. “While wearing a well-fitting face covering is still an important COVID-19 prevention measure, especially in indoor public spaces, we do think it is reasonable to end the public health orders requiring them now,” Dr. Douglas said. “We have worked closely with our school districts to ensure they have capacity to implement a range of prevention measures to accommodate particularly at-risk students and to minimize disruptions to in-person learning.” Douglas said that case trends following the widespread omicron surge are now dramatically declining even more rapidly than expected. For example, while rates in both counties are still high, they have declined by more than 65% since the peak on Jan. 11.
The Arapahoe County Board of Commissioners welcomed the decision while encouraging people to remain vigilant about controlling the spread of coronavirus. “We’re pleased to see the potential end of the pandemic, and we thank everyone who has been following the public health guidelines and taking the personal responsibility to protect themselves and others,” said Arapahoe County Board Chair Nancy Jackson. “We urge everyone to not let their guard down as they resume their normal activities and to keep exercising commonsense measures to limit any further spread of the virus.”