Boulder County Public Health creates COVID Mitigation Plan with Incentives for Success

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For Immediate Release

October 7, 2020

Media Contact

Chana Goussetis, 303-441-1457

Boulder County Public Health creates COVID Mitigation Plan with Incentives for Success

Boulder County, CO – Two weeks ago, Boulder County Public Health put a Public Health Order in place to limit gatherings of people aged 18-22 years when in the City of Boulder with the goal of reducing the rising number of new cases of COVID-19.

Today, the Boulder County Board of Health approved two new Public Health Orders designed to maintain a low incidence of COVID-19 cases among this age group; one regarding gathering sizes for young adults and the other for collegiate group homes.

“We are so pleased that the number of new COVID-19 cases in this age group has dropped significantly,” said Jeff Zayach, Boulder County Public Health executive director. “Thank you to every single young adult in our community who has been following this order, on top of all of the other behavior changes we’ve asked of you. Your actions have made a difference!”

The rise in new cases in Boulder County triggered review of Boulder County’s status on the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) Dial and required Boulder County Public Health to submit a mitigation plan to CDPHE. The plan requires that local public health have strategies in place to avoid a similar spike in the future.

“We wanted to find an approach that puts young people and our community in control, and that can change as situations change,” said Zayach. “This new gathering order is like a mini version of the state dial that eases restrictions when transmission is lower.”

New Gathering Order

The new Gathering Order includes metrics that provide incentives for young adults to increase social distancing, wear face coverings, seek out testing, and cooperate with contact tracing if they test positive for COVID-19.

It outlines four levels for gatherings among 18-22-year-old individuals in the City of Boulder, ranging from no gatherings at all, to gatherings of six individuals for a private gathering or attendance at regulated events, to gathering sizes permitted per the state Dial level for Boulder County.

“The metrics that trigger changes in restrictions between levels are largely influenced by individual behaviors, so they create incentives for young adults,” said Zayach.

The levels are based on testing goals, cases per 100,000 among individuals 18 to 22 years old in Boulder County, the positivity rate among the age range, number of CU students tested, and cooperation with contact tracing. Movement to ease restrictions on gatherings will be based on a 14-day positivity rate and 14-day cases per 100,000 while movement to more restrictive levels will be based on a 5-day positivity rate and 5-day cases-per-100,000 metrics. Any movement between levels will be decided and announced by Boulder County Public Health.

“First, I want to thank our students who have been complying with local and state public health orders to reduce the spread of COVID-19.  I know this has been difficult,” said University of Colorado Boulder Chancellor Philip DiStefano. “We believe we have strong testing plans, and we know that individual behavior is the biggest determinant of success in the fight against the virus, so I encourage all our students, faculty and staff to keep up the good work as we transition back to in-person instruction by Oct. 14.” 

“We recognize this has been a challenging few weeks for our young adult population. We appreciate the changed behavior the recent strategies have fostered, and we look forward to partnering with 18- to 22-year-olds in the city to lift restrictions, based on the metrics the health department has outlined today, as soon as possible,” said Boulder City Manager Jan Brautigam.

Collegiate Group Homes

The second Public Health Order beginning today addresses properties considered collegiate group homes. Many group quarters, such as long-term care facilities and residence halls are regulated by state law or other government institutions and must implement COVID-19 policies pursuant to their regulating body. The goal of the public health order moving forward is to provide clear guidance for group quarters that are not under similar regulatory bodies. 

The Collegiate Group Homes Order requires anyone living in collegiate group homes on the list of identified properties to continue under stay-at-home orders until October 12 or until they complete and Boulder County Public Health has approved an isolation, quarantine, and testing plan, whichever is later.

The Stay-At-Home order for the six identified properties that are not collegiate group homes will expire on October 8, 2020, as long as there have not been violations at the property in the past two weeks. To date, none of the properties have had additional violations.

For detailed information visit A media availability will be provided at 3 p.m. today. Members of the media will be contacted separately for details.

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What’s the same?

  • Young adults (18-22 years old) in the City of Boulder:
    • Face Coverings must be worn per state and local requirements
    • Social distancing must be followed per state and local requirements
    • May gather with one other person, including shopping and exercising
    • May go to work
  • Properties under Stay at Home Orders must stay at home until October 12 or until they submit an infection control plan, whichever is later
  • CU students continue daily symptom monitoring and reporting of symptoms

What’s changing?

  • Young adults (18-22 years old) in the City of Boulder will have more opportunities for gathering as COVID-19 transmission decreases
  • Stay at Home orders for identified collegiate group properties can be lifted by providing an approved infection control plan
  • Stay at Home orders for non-group collegiate group properties without violations are lifted as of Thursday October 8, 2020, at noon