Health care workers at UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies cheered as Sergio Rodriguez left the hospital after a weekslong battle with COVID-19. Wochit
Greeley’s public facilities will remain closed through June 2 and officials there are encouraging local businesses to follow state guidelines before reopening, in stark contrast to Weld County commissioners, who are encouraging businesses to get back to it.
Shortly after commissioners made public their desire to see businesses reopen at their own discretion last week, the city of Greeley said it would abide by Gov. Jared Polis’ safer-at-home executive order. It “encouraged” local business do the same “to further protect our community and get our economy back on track safely.”
Four health care providers in Larimer and Weld counties also implored commissioners to reconsider its safer-at-work plan.
“The impact to our economy now is real and destructive,” read the letter from Banner Health, UCHealth, Sunrise Community Health and Salud Family Health Centers. “We can rebuild business — we cannot replace lives that are lost.”
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The health care providers called for a staged reopening of the economy following unified guidelines set by the state health department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As of 3 p.m. Wednesday, Weld County reported 1,667 cases and 90 deaths compared with the 350 cases and 19 deaths reported by Larimer County.
The letter states “we also believe the immediate threat of death and serious illness related to COVID-19 needs to be further mitigated before the economy is fully reopened.”
The economic interdependence of the two counties makes it nearly impossible to separate the impact on public health if one county sees a spike in COVID-19 cases.
On Tuesday, commissioners reiterated to the Coloradoan that they never set guidelines on who should or should not be open but understood the position taken by the health care providers.
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“While the board would have liked to have a conversation with the signers of the letter prior to the release of the letter to the public, they understand and share the health community’s passion regarding public health,” a spokesperson said.
“County government did not close any businesses so they cannot open any businesses,” a spokesperson wrote in an email.
“The best practice guidelines put out last week were in preparation for businesses as they began to reopen as the state moved into Gov. Polis’ safer-at-home order,” the spokesperson wrote.
Pat Ferrier is a senior reporter covering business, health care and growth issues in Northern Colorado. Contact her at email@example.com. Please support her work and that of other Coloradoan journalists by purchasing a subscription today.
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