BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. — Boulder County is moving to safer-at-home Level 3 amid a rise of COVID-19 cases, joining Denver and several other counties in bringing back restrictions to slow the spread of the virus.
Boulder County will move to Level 3 on Friday "due to the rapid increase in new COVID-19 cases and the percentage of positivity among COVID-19 tests" in the county, Boulder County Public Health said in a news release Wednesday.
Level 3 cuts restaurant capacity to 25%, along with 25% capacity limits at offices and retail, places of worship and non-critical manufacturing facilities. Gyms and fitness centers are also subject to the capacity rules, along with indoor events, outdoor events and outdoor guided services.
Indoor events can have up to 50 people, if that's less than 25% capacity. Outdoor events can host 75 people, or 25% capacity, whichever is fewer.
Boulder County's COVID-19 case rate in the last two weeks has been 312.1 per 100,000 people. Safer-at-home levels begin at 175 cases per 100,000 people and anything above 350 cases per 100,000 people qualifies for a stay-at-home phase, according to Colorado's public health dial.
Boulder County is averaging about 98 new cases per day, according to the latest five-day rolling average.
“This is devastating, especially because we know that we can prevent the transmission of this virus and this change will impact our businesses severely, as well as our social and emotional health," Jeff Zayach, Boulder County Public Health executive director, said in a news release. "This comes down to all of us taking personal responsibility to avoid social gatherings, wear a mask, maintain at least feet of physical distance and to be diligent about washing hands."
Boulder County in October had implemented strict measures targeted at reducing the spread of coronavirus on the University of Colorado campus, and the case counts dropped. However, Boulder, along with the rest of the state, has seen a sharp uptick in community transmission, both from the standpoint of case counts and the COVID-19 testing positivity rate.
State officials in recent weeks — including on Wednesday — have warned Coloradans about the rising cases and hospitalizations, saying Colorado could exceed ICU capacity through the winter holidays if current trends hold.