Summit moves to level yellow Friday under new health order
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct that both metrics — the incidence and vaccination rates — must be met for levels blue, yellow and orange.
It’s official: Starting at 12:01 a.m. Friday, April 16, Summit County will be back in level yellow.
The move comes after a Board of Health meeting Thursday in which the county’s new public health order was adopted in anticipation of the state dial framework expiring Friday.
Not many changes were made to the order since Tuesday’s meeting. The county’s goal is to move into level green by May 27 by getting 70% of residents fully vaccinated or having an incidence rate of 100 or fewer new cases per 100,000 residents.
The county still will use the incidence rate metric, but the new order puts more emphasis on hospitalizations. The county would move to a more restrictive level on the dial only if the local or regional hospital systems reach surge capacity or if statewide hospital capacity is threatened. If that doesn’t happen, Summit can only move forward on the dial to less restrictive levels as case numbers drop and vaccinations increase.
The move to level yellow means allowed capacity at many business types — including restaurants, fitness centers, offices and personal services — will increase from 25% to 50%.
The two-household gathering rule will be eliminated, and businesses like lodging properties and restaurants will no longer be required to collect contact tracing information. The 6-foot physical distancing rule will remain in place indoors and be reduced to 3 feet on patios.
On Thursday, the county’s incidence rate was 216.2 cases per 100,000 residents, good enough to move into level blue once 60% of residents are fully vaccinated. Currently, 36.5% of residents are fully vaccinated.
Officials are calling the new plan a “cautious reopening.”
Those wanting more information about the new public order can attend a virtual town hall at 10 a.m. Friday, April 16. County officials, including Commissioner Tamara Pogue, will be available to answer questions. Find a meeting link on the Summit Chamber of Commerce or Summit County Facebook pages.
“More and more as people get vaccinated, it’ll be about the personal choices people make to protect themselves, which include all of the six commitments that (Director of Public Health Amy Wineland) and everyone has been talking about this whole time,” Assistant County Manager Sarah Vaine said. “Each person has the individual option to continue to try to be as careful and cautious as they’d like.”
In addition to the new public health order, Wineland noted that the state still has its own public health orders that counties must follow as they develop their own additional measures.
“What’s also really important to note is that there still will be a state public health order going forward,” Wineland said. “There is still a mask mandate in place, at least until May 4, and then a new order will be coming out (Friday) that will have some restrictions in it with regard to large indoor gatherings going forward.”
Wineland also said the state plans to put together a map so people can view the local health orders of each county.
Level green: Incidence rate of zero to 100 cases per 100,000 residents or 70% fully vaccinated
Level blue: Incidence rate of 101 to 250 cases per 100,000 residents and 60% fully vaccinated
Level yellow: Incidence rate of 251 to 500 cases per 100,000 residents and 50% vaccinated with at least one dose
Level orange: Incidence rate of 501 or more cases per 100,000 residents and 40% vaccinated with at least one dose
Level red: Local hospital system reaches 80% of surge capacity or regional hospital system reaches 85% of surge capacity
Level purple: Statewide hospital system is threatened and approaching the need for medical crisis standards of care, using alternative care sites, critical shortages of staff, or hospitals approaching 90% of surge capacity
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