The Pitkin County Board of Health has announced stricter limits for gatherings, compared to the statewide order Gov. Jared Polis put in place last week. Gatherings in the county can be no more than five people from two households.
Health officials are pointing to concerns about community spread at personal gatherings as the main reason for the new guidance. The timing is important as well, as people are preparing for Halloween. Though, the Board of Health explains that this new rule only applies to personal gatherings, and does not impact situations including restaurants, bars, workplaces, school-sanctioned events and weddings.
Public Health Director Karen Koenemann explained during the Board of Health meeting this week that many of the outbreaks the department is currently investigating are tied to informal gatherings. There are 11 outbreaks as of Thursday and 108 individuals in the county are in quarantine.
The state of Colorado has been a sharp rise in the number of COVID-19 cases. State leaders have been warning the public for weeks that there is a short window of time to get control of the virus again before it could begin to overwhelm hospitals across the state. During a news conference earlier this week, leaders announced there are backup plans ready in case there is a surge.