Could Denver be moved into Level Blue COVID-19 restrictions by March?

DENVER (KDVR) — By all appearances, Broomfield County will start the dominos tipping over.

Yesterday, Broomfield moved from Level Yellow on the state’s COVID-19 restriction dial to Level Blue. According to state data, most nearby counties are nosing to the same determinant levels that allowed Broomfield to loosen up.

Level Blue restrictions are mostly similar to Level Yellow’s.

Level Blue does not open bars, but it does push back alcohol last call to midnight and increases capacity by 125 people at event centers and restaurants.

The most concrete change from Level Yellow to Level Blue is about education. P-12 schools are no longer “suggested” to take place in-class, as they were under Level Yellow. Level Blue restrictions have a full-throated in class learning mandate. Colleges and universities move to in class learning, as well.

There are three metrics for restrictions – days with stable or declining hospitalizations, one-week average test positivity and one-week cumulative incidence rate.

Denver has two of these metrics in Level Yellow and will likely nudge into blue this week.

It takes 12-14 days of stable hospitalizations to move to Level Blue, and Denver has 11. Likewise, it takes a cumulative incidence rate between 15 and 100 to go to Level Blue, and Denver’s is at 102.7.

Hospitalizations are the biggest factor in getting the rest of the Denver metro into Level Blue.

Most counties around Denver have Level Blue 7-day positivity averages. Only Adams and El Paso counties do not.

However, six of the ten have Level Yellow hospitalization levels – Jefferson, El Paso, Douglas, Boulder, Broomfield and Arapahoe counties.

Colorado’s long grind of restrictions and its vaccination program are paying off, if slowly. Statewide, most counties have moved out f the most restrictive levels. Only scant handfuls still have Levels Orange or Red restrictions.