DENVER — Colorado’s COVID dial will “evolve” from a requirement to a guidance tool on Friday, state health officials explained in a press conference Tuesday.
The move means local governments–cities and counties–will have more control over health orders.
“That doesn’t mean that the state, in any way, shape, or form, is letting up on our efforts to suppress the virus,” Gov. Jared Polis said.
Some statewide orders will remain in place. Specifically, Colorado’s mask mandate remains in effect until at least May 6, and Polis said the state will likely continue to require masks in schools through the end of the school year.
Polis said the state will also continue to regulate indoor events of more than 500 people.
“It doesn’t mean they can’t happen–for instance, the Nuggets–but it means they need to happen under a variance or state supervision to make sure that they have the right protocols to prevent a deadly mass spreader event,” Polis said.
Polis said the state is also doubling down on outreach, running ads and multimedia communications about the ongoing virus risk and the steps Coloradans can take to protect themselves.
Jill Hunsaker Ryan, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said many counties plan to implement some form of the dial using their own public health orders. She said the state strongly recommends local governments keep social distancing and mask orders in place.
“This will empower counties to do what is necessary to protect their communities,” Ryan said.
State leaders also discussed Colorado’s decision to pause distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine based on a recommendation from federal agencies. The state is requiring providers to stop administration of the J&J vaccine while federal agencies investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots.