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Larimer County ordered to mitigate rise in COVID-19 cases

Coronavirus cases in Larimer County are on the rise, putting the county’s variance from Colorado’s “Safer at Home” order at risk. 

According to a July 18 press release from the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment, the county has been notified in writing by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment that they must create a mitigation plan by Monday to show how the county will decrease COVID-19 case counts. 

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The press release said the plan requires strong community enforcement and compliance plans for face coverings, social distancing and following the required guidelines for businesses.  

11.4% of the Larimer County population has been tested for COVID-19, according to the LCDHE website, and of those tested, there have been 1,416, or 3.5%, positive cases. There were 11 new cases reported in the past 24 hours as of July 17. 

Larimer County’s variance from the Safer at Home order was granted by CDPHE on May 23 and has allowed for some non-essential businesses in the county to reopen earlier than the guidelines listed under the Safe at Home order with strict precautions. All non-essential businesses looking to reopen must submit a checklist to LCDHE.

Larimer County has two weeks to reverse the trend, or the variance could be modified or revoked. 

“A revocation of the variance could potentially impact our restaurants and breweries, places of worship, public gathering sizes and graduations,” the press release said. 

The press release said the uptick in daily cases has been linked to many Fourth of July gatherings. 

LCDHE Community Relations and Public Informations Supervisor Katie O’Donnell said county contact tracers have linked these new cases to private gatherings. At the moment, no approved events or protests have any cases associated with them, O’Donnell said. 

“I know that we will regroup and reverse this uptick,” said Tom Gonzales, Larimer County public health director, in the press release. “But in order to do that, we must all take this seriously and be diligent with handwashing, face coverings and social distancing. We must slow our case count to keep our businesses open. I am confident we will overcome this challenge.”

Colorado State University Public Safety and Risk Communications Manager Dell Rae Ciaravola said the University’s pandemic preparedness team is and has been working very closely with the state and county to plan for the fall semester. The team is reviewing the latest information and will have a response later in the week. 

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Serena Bettis can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @serenaroseb. 

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About the Contributor
Serena Bettis, Editor in Chief
Serena Bettis is your 2022-23 editor in chief and is in her final year studying journalism and political science. In her three years at The Collegian, Bettis has also been a news reporter, copy editor, news editor and content managing editor, and she occasionally takes photos, too. When Bettis was 5, her family moved from Iowa to a tiny town northwest of Fort Collins called Livermore, Colorado, before eventually moving to Fort Collins proper. When she was 8 years old, her dad enrolled at Colorado State University as a nontraditional student veteran, where he found his life's passion in photojournalism. Although Bettis' own passion for journalism did not stem directly from her dad, his time at CSU and with The Collegian gave her the motivation to bite down on her fear of talking to strangers and find The Collegian newsroom on the second day of classes in 2019. She's never looked back since. Considering that aforementioned fear, Bettis is constantly surprised to be where she is today. However, thanks to the supportive learning environment at The Collegian and inspiring peers, Bettis has not stopped chasing her teenage dream of being a professional journalist. Between working with her section editors, coordinating news stories between Rocky Mountain Student Media departments and coaching new reporters, Bettis gets to live that dream every day. When she's not in the newsroom or almost falling asleep in class, you can find Bettis working in the Durrell Marketplace and Café or outside gazing at the beauty that is our campus (and running inside when bees are nearby). This year, Bettis' goals for The Collegian include continuing its trajectory as a unique alt-weekly newspaper, documenting the institutional memory of the paper to benefit students in years to come and fostering a sense of community and growth both inside the newsroom and through The Collegian's published work. Bettis would like to encourage anyone with story ideas, suggestions, questions, concerns or comments to reach out to her at editor@collegian.com.

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