COLORADO SPRINGS — The updated state COVID-19 dial went in effect Saturday morning, placing counties in new levels including El Paso, Pueblo, and Teller counties.
Changes in the new dial include going by a 7 day instead of a 14 day metric. There are also some changes to capacity level caps.
In level Yellow, businesses can have up to 50% or 150 persons using a space calculator, this is a change from the 100 person cap.
The changes come as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to decline in Colorado.
During the governor's press conference Friday afternoon CDPHE Executive Director Jill Ryan acknowledged there has been a discrepancy in vaccine allocation with El Paso County. Ryan said staff is working to makeup the discrepancy.
Gov. Polis also brought up the requirement that every dose distributed must be given to someone within 3 days. He said when providers don't do that those doses will be reallocated. He stressed that if vaccines are reallocated, they will stay in the same community.
El Paso County officials announced Thursday it would be receiving 12,900 vaccine doses early next week, adding there have been no doses wasted by the county though the governor's office is claiming otherwise.
In the county's announcement, officials stated each provider in the county has "an excellent record of tracking and distributing all vaccines" and that "no doses have been shelved." The county said these doses will go to five providers: UCHealth, Safeway, Centure, Optum/Mountain View Medical, and Peak Vista Community Health Centers.
“It is vital to our efforts to get more supplies from the state. CDPHE makes the decisions on vaccine distribution. We appreciate CDPHE for recognizing the need for more vaccines in El Paso County," El Paso County Health Director Susan Wheelan said in the release. "This will allow us to vaccinate more people in the priority groups as established by the state. There is no higher priority than getting vaccines in arms so that we can prevent disease and move our county along the path to recovery."
In response to El Paso County, the governor's office released a statement saying the state is "anxious to send El Paso more vaccines" and that the county will be receiving the 12,000 doses next week "based off assurances" to use them immediately.
It’s unfortunate El Paso has had thousands of life-saving doses sitting on shelves for approximately 8 days. Today CIIS shows over 9,000 doses on hand. Every day a vaccine sits on a shelve is lives not saved. The state asked that providers update vaccine administration data in the Colorado Immunization Information System (CIIS) daily to ensure we can keep accurate information on vaccine inventory and vaccine administered.
The county responded that the governor's office "doubled down on inaccurate information" and that the governor is "sowing confusion and division."
Like other counties, El Paso County’s vaccine providers can account for each vaccine received. We stand ready and able to distribute far more vaccines than the supply we have been given so far. The real truth is that to date the State has not been transparent—we do not yet know why some counties have received more vaccines than others, and whether an allocation formula even exists.
The county is currently in Phase 1A and 1B.1, according to the health department's website, vaccinating high-risk healthcare workers and those 70 and older. Gov. Jared Polis announced late last week the expansion of vaccine distribution in Colorado to include educators and people 65 and older starting next Monday.
Gov. Jared Polis announces teachers, educators can receive vaccines starting Feb. 8
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