EL PASO COUNTY — As the transition from stay-at-home orders to safer-at-home starts, government, health and business leaders in El Paso County are encouraging locals to remain serious about COVID-19 prevention. Positive trends make easing restrictions possible, but there is also reason to remain vigilant.
Encouraging results from tracking COVID-19 influenced the decision to ease some restrictions. El Paso County accounts for 12.5% of Colorado’s population. “As of yesterday, we have 6.3% of [the state’s} positive COVID test. 9.6% of deaths,” said Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers. The numbers show infection rates slowing. They are also still significant.
Continued tracking of numbers remains essential. Data will show the impact of easing restrictions. Some fluctuation is likely. The unwanted scenario is seeing numbers rapidly rising, like when the virus was first identified in the county. “Having another spike. We will broaden to stay at home potentially again. Our goal is not to go there," said El Paso County Public Health, Medical Director, Dr. Robin Johnson.
Another reason for the shift to Safer at Home regulations is the increasing availability of COVID-19 testing. It makes better tracking possible, as well as quicker isolation of anyone who is infected. "Anyone with symptoms of COVID should get tested and self-isolate until they have the results of their test," said Johnson. There is now an expanded team of epidemiologists with El Paso County Public Health who use testing results to limit further spread.
Face masks, regular hand washing, staying at home as much as possible remain necessary. Safer at Home guidelines ease some restrictions, but most are not eliminated.