Today, Tri-County Health Department (TCHD) issued the Public Health Order Requiring Facial Coverings in Public Where Social Distancing Cannot be Maintained that was approved by its Board of Health on July 8. At that meeting, TCHD staff recommended that the Board of Health consider a public health order requiring masking for all three counties. A mandate was recommended for Adams County and Aurora, which have the highest incidence rates; either an opt-out or opt-in mandate for Arapahoe County, which has a somewhat lower incidence rate; and an opt-in mandate for Douglas County, which has the lowest rate. Following discussion, the Board voted to allow elected officials and jurisdictions in all three counties to determine the use of the mandate requiring face coverings in a similar manner, through an opt-out process.
The Order requires that people wear facial coverings in public spaces in cities and counties that have not opted-out of the Order in Adams, Arapahoe, and Douglas Counties. TCHD enacted the Order to help control and slow the spread of COVID-19. This Order will go into effect on Friday, July 24.
“Over the past month, there has been a concerning increase in cases which led to our decision to issue this Order. As of July 9, incidence rates per 100,000 over the past 14 days in our counties were 124 for Adams County, 76 for Arapahoe County, and 68 for Douglas County. The number of cases per day has increased substantially in all three counties over the past month, particularly in the past several days,” said Executive Director, John M. Douglas, Jr., MD. “Prevention is the best tool we have in fighting COVID-19 and we have scientific evidence that masks can play an important role in slowing the spread of COVID-19, which can help in reopening and keeping our economy open. Keeping transmission rates from climbing is particularly important as our schools make plans to re-open as fully as possible next month.”
This Order requires masks in public places with several specific exceptions, such as those who cannot wear a mask due to medical or mental health conditions or children two years and under. Cities and counties within the TCHD jurisdiction will have the choice to opt-out of this Order via an email notification by Thursday, July 23. Instructions on opting out are in the public health order. Douglas County has already announced that they will opt-out of the order, and, in addition, that they will leave TCHD’s jurisdiction and form their own health department.
"We are at least a couple of weeks away from requiring masks, but we need to continue to make thoughtful efforts to always wear our masks when we go out in public, said Executive Director, John M. Douglas, Jr., MD. “We strongly encourage everyone to wear masks especially inside places where social distancing cannot be maintained.”
Continue to protect yourself and others by wearing masks, maintaining more than 6 feet distance from others, frequent hand washing, and staying home when you are sick. For more information about this Order, contact TCHD at 303-220-9200 or visit our website at www.tchd.org/coronavirus.
Tri-County Health Department serves over 1.5 million people in Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas Counties. It provides over 60 programs and services including birth certificates, immunizations, WIC, restaurant inspections, family planning, STI/HIV Testing, and infectious disease investigations. For more information, visit www.tchd.org Twitter @TCHDHealth or Facebook @cotchd.