MZCO Asks to Open More Businesses

05/12/2020
NEWS BRIEFS
LPC Humane Society Thrift Store open, lpchumanesociety.org
SJBPH requires restaurants and camps to complete an infection prevention checklist and self-certify, sjbpublichealth.org
SJBPH and La Plata County Sheriff’s Office are implemented facility-wide COVID-19 testing of staff at the county jail,sjbpublichealth.org
SJBPH is offering prioritized COVID-19 worksite testing, contact Tracie Holcomb at tholcomb@sjbpublichealth.org for more
Colorado statewide guide to restaurant reopening available at https://covid19.colorado.gov/
Durango requires face covering in public spaces (businesses, public transit, and indoor and outdoor public places where people can not maintain 6 feet of social distancing), durangogov.org
as of 10 am, May 29 -Southwest Colorado confirmed COVID-19 cases by county: La Plata (80), Archuleta (8), Montezuma (39), Dolores (0), San Juan (1). Deaths due to Covid: Montezuma (2), Deaths among cases: LaPlata (1), Montezuma (1), sjbpublichealth.org, montezumacounty.org
Colorado COVID-19 totals: 25,121 cases, 1,421 deaths among cases, 1,168 deaths due to COVID-19, 4,254 hospitalized, 166,596 tested, 272 outbreaks, colorado.gov

The Montezuma County Commissioners have asked for an exemption to Safer-at-Home regulations so that more businesses can re-open to jump start an already depressed economy.

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AS SOUTHWEST COLORADO BUSINESSES CAUTIOUSLY RE-OPEN WITH SOCIAL-DISTANCING MEASURES IN PLACE, ONE COUNTY WANTS TO JUMP-START ITS ECONOMY FASTER THAN SAFER-AT-HOME REGULATIONS ALLOW.YOU'RE WATCHING THE LOCAL NEWS NETWORK, BROUGHT TO YOU BY CHOICE BUILDING SUPPLY ACE HARDWARE IN CORTEZ AND KROEGER'S ACE HARDWARE IN DURANGO. I'M WENDY GRAHAM SETTLE.THE MONTEZUMA COUNTY COMMISSIONERS VOTED IN LATE APRIL TO ASK THE COLORADO DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT FOR PERMISSION TO OPEN MORE BUSINESSES AT GREATER CAPACITY THAN PERMITTED BY COLORADO GOVERNOR JARED PULIS'S SAFER-AT-HOME EXECUTIVE ORDERS ISSUED ON APRIL 27TH.THE ORDER ALLOWS SOME, BUT NOT ALL, NON-CRITICAL RETAIL BUSINESSES AND SERVICES TO OPEN WITH RESTRICTIONS ON MAY 1.THE COMMISSIONERS ASKED FOR THE EXEMPTION BASED ON THE COUNTY'S DEPRESSED ECONOMIC CONDITIONS THAT EXISTED BEFORE THE PANDEMIC BEGAN AND THE LOW COVID-19 INFECTION RATE.AS OF MONDAY, MAY 11TH, THE MONTEZUMA COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT REPORTED 24 CONFIRMED CASES OF COVID-19.MONTEZUMA COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR SHAK POWERS SAID THE COUNTY'S EXEMPTION PLAN COMPLIES WITH THE GOVERNOR'S SOCIAL-DISTANCING REGULATIONS WHILE RE-OPENING MORE BUSINESSES, INCLUDING RESTAURANTS, BARS, AND OTHER PERSONAL SERVICES.
THE GOVERNOR'S, THE REASONING FOR THE GOVERNOR'S ORDER WHEN HE GAVE HIS PRESS CONFERENCE WAS THAT HE WANTED TO KEEP SOCIAL DISTANCING, TO ABOUT 60 PERCENT. AND SO WHAT THE COMMISSIONERS ARE SAYING IS IF YOU WANT TO KEEP IT TO 60 PERCENT, THEN GIVE US THE OTHER 40 PERCENT. SO WE'RE ASKING FOR BUSINESSES OF ALL KINDS, INCLUDING RESTAURANTS TO BE ABLE TO OPEN UP 40 PERCENT OF THEIR OCCUPANCY. ALTHOUGH COUNTY RESIDENTS HAVE EXPRESSED MIXED SUPPORT FOR THE MORE RELAXED RESTRICTIONS, PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICIALS AND THE COMMISSIONERS AGREED THAT THE COUNTY CAN'T WAIT FOR FOR A VACCINE TO BE DEVELOPED OR FOR THE COUNTY'S POPULATION TO REACH HERD IMMUNITY TO RESTART THE ECONOMY.HERD IMMUNITY OCCURS WHEN SO MANY PEOPLE DEVELOP IMMUNITY FROM A VIRUS, THAT IT NO LONGER SPREADS THROUGH THE POPULATION.EPIDEMIOLOGISTS FROM JOHN HOPKINS UNIVERSITY OF MEDICINE HAVE ESTIMATED THAT HERD IMMUNITY AGAINST THE CORONAVIRUS IN THE UNITED STATES WILL OCCUR WHEN 70 PERCENT OF THE POPULATION BECOMES IMMUNE BY CONTRACTING AND SURVIVNG A BOUT OF COVID-19.BUT FOR THAT TO OCCUR, EPIDEMIOLOGISTS ALSO PREDICT THAT MORE THAN 500 THOUSAND PEOPLE WILL DIE IN THE PROCESS.POWERS SAID THE DATA INDICATE THAT MONTEZUMA COUNTY'S INFECTION RATE IS SO LOW, THAT THE LOCAL POPULATION WOULD NOT REACH EVEN 50 PERCENT HERD IMMUNITY FOR MORE THAN 60 YEARS.
IT'S JUST NOT REASONABLE TO LEAVE THE ECONOMY SHUT OFF UNTIL WE REACHED THAT POINT. NOW WE ALL HOPE AND PRAY WE'RE GOING TO HAVE THE VACCINE BEFORE SIX DECADES GO BY, BUT WE DON'T KNOW WHEN A VACCINE'S COMING. AND EVEN IF WE HIT AN ALARMING RATE AND WE SAW A HUNDRED POSITIVES A WEEK, IT WOULD STILL TAKE TWO AND A HALF YEARS TO REACH HERD IMMUNITY AT THAT RATE. AND WE JUST CAN'T LEAVE THE ECONOMY SHUT OFF FOR THAT PERIOD OF TIME.POWERS SAID THAT HALF THE RESIDENTS WHO'VE CONTACTED THE COMMISSIONERS SAY THE COUNTY IS MOVING TOO QUICKLY WHILE OTHERS SAY THE EXEMPTION WITH ITS LIMITATIONS IS TOO RESTRICTIVE.BUT HE ADDED THAT THE COUNTY IS TRYING TO STRIKE A BALANCE BETWEEN PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY AND A FULL-SCALE RESTART OF THE ECONOMY.
IT SEEMS LIKE WE'VE GOTTEN INTO A CULTURE OF US VERSUS THEM, AND WE EITHER HAVE TO HIDE UNDER ROCKS OUR ENTIRE LIVES OR OPEN UP WITH NO PRECAUTIONS. AND WHAT WE REALLY NEED TO DO IS OPEN SAFELY. WE NEED TO PRACTICE HYGIENE, KEEP OUR DISTANCE AND OPEN IN A RESPONSIBLE MANNER.TO READ MONTEZUMA COUNTY'S REQUEST FOR EXEMPTION AND ITS PLAN TO PRESERVE SOCIAL DISTANCING WHILE REOPENING MORE BUSINESSES, VISIT MONTEZUMA COUNTY DOT COM.I'M WENDY GRAHAM SETTLE FOR THE LOCAL NEWS NETWORK.

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