Panhandle Public Health officials say they wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a rise in COVID cases following the move into Phase 4 Directed Health Measures that takes effect this Friday.
During the COVID Unified Command update Tuesday afternoon, Panhandle Public Health District Director Kim Engel said it has to do with how everyone reacts once nearly all restrictions that have the threat of misdemeanor citation move to guidance-only. “It increases because the restrictions being put on the public are being lifted, so we’re able to do more,” said Engel. “So, if people are able to do more and don’t follow basic safety, the risk could increase.”
Under Phase 4, the only restriction still subject to enforcement under penalty of law is the limits on gatherings, to be set at 100% capacity for outdoor venues and 75% for indoor locations. Plans for events and/or venues with 500 or more people will still be required to be submitted to PPHD for approval.
Unified Command confirms 28 more cases of COVID in the Panhandle since last reporting on Thursday, September 3, 22 adults and six juveniles, as well as 212 recoveries.
The remainder of the state’s Public Health districts, with the exception of Lincoln-Lancaster County, will move into Phase 4 Sept. 14.