5-star businesses can move to level yellow restrictions once county hits 7 days of orange numbers
Statewide change comes along with vaccination update from Gov. Jared Polis
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include a statement from St. Anthony Summit Medical Center officials.
Five-star certified businesses will be able to operate under level yellow restrictions once Summit County reports seven days of level orange case numbers.
When the county originally moved to level orange, officials said the numbers would have to be within that threshold for at least 14 days before five-star businesses could operate with a higher capacity. At a Summit County Board of Health meeting Tuesday, Jan. 5, Public Health Director Amy Wineland said that requirement has since changed.
“Once we hit orange metrics for seven days, they can move to operating under level yellow capacity limits,” she said. “It’s really exciting for them to continue that commitment to have additional mitigation strategies.”
As of Wednesday, Jan. 6, the county’s incidence rate was at 603.6 new cases per 100,000 people, which falls within level red metrics. The county would need to report fewer than 350 new cases per 100,000 people for seven days to allow five-star business to operate in level yellow.
Level yellow would allow restaurants and fitness centers, which are the only types of businesses eligible for the program, to move from 25% to 50% capacity.
The county hopes to reward the businesses that choose to maintain their certification because they have shown dedication to COVID-19 mitigation strategies. To help get the word out about businesses that are five-star certified, the county has created a map, which can be found at SummitCountyCo.gov/5star.
As of Wednesday, Jan. 6, the map showed 178 businesses that are certified.
“We’re not in any way giving them a stamp that says there is no risk involved, but these are businesses who have stepped up and taken additional commitments to making their place as safe as it can be based on the data that we have,” Wineland said.
Assistant County Manager Sarah Vaine said county officials want to help businesses that haven’t received their certification get to that point.
“Our goal is to support those restaurants,” she said. “… Those businesses that haven’t gone through the certification process may want to start doing that, so they’re ready when we do — and we expect that we will — get to move into the level yellow metrics for five star.”
Polis provides statewide vaccine update
At a news conference Wednesday, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis gave an update on the statewide vaccine distribution plan.
While Summit County has been vaccinating people who are older than 70 for a week now, many places in the state are still working through health care workers and long-term care facility residents, which total about 187,000 people across the state. Polis said the state expects the majority of the people in that population to be vaccinated by Jan. 15.
“By and large, the big focus after Jan. 15 is 70 and up,” he said.
Polis added that the state is developing partnerships with health systems such as Centura Health, UCHealth, Vail Health and more to get their 70 and older patient population vaccinated.
In his presentation, Polis said Centura patients, which include patients who go to High Country Health Care and St. Anthony Summit Medical Center, should be getting an invitation through the patient portal to schedule an appointment.
“These invitations are randomized for their patients that are 70 and up and sent out to schedule,” he said.
Polis said Centura facilities will be requiring appointments and won’t accept walk-ins for the vaccine. However, he said people may want to bring a family member who also qualifies along with them in the case that there are extra doses left in the vaccine bottle.
“One of our requirements is don’t waste any doses, and if there is one available it will likely be administered, but you do need an appointment,” he said.
However, St. Anthony Summit Medical Center spokesperson Brent Boyer wrote in an email that people shouldn’t expect their loved ones to get vaccinated if they bring them.
“While patients are welcome to bring a family member for support during their vaccination appointment, there should be no expectation that anyone other than the vaccine recipient will receive a vaccination at that time,” Boyer wrote.
Vail Health also will be offering appointments for their patient population in Eagle County. To schedule an appointment, people can visit VailHealth.org/covid-19/vaccines, Polis said.
“We applaud all of our partners for opening up their online portals quickly,” he said. “They are contacting the people that are in their database 70 and up first, but they will also be taking sign-ups from the general public if you have somebody 70 and up who simply hasn’t ever been to a hospital.”
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