Metro Denver counties with rising COVID-19 cases hope public education, targeted orders will stave off new stay-at-home mandates

New COVID-19 cases have increased in much of the Denver metro area, and county health departments are trying to persuade their residents they need to keep their distance to avoid new stay-at-home orders.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s new dial framework places each county in one of five color-coded levels, with increasing restrictions on business capacity and event sizes.

Each county’s level is based on the rate of new cases compared to population, the percentage of COVID-19 tests coming back positive and how hospitalizations are trending.

As of Friday, 15 counties, or almost one-quarter of the state’s counties, had rates of new cases that could push them to issue additional restrictions if nothing changes. They get at least two weeks to bring the numbers down before more restrictions are on the table, though.

Unlike this spring, when businesses across the state were ordered to shut down, counties

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