Montrose County Applies for Variance from Statewide Order


MONTROSE, Colo. – The County of Montrose has applied for variance from the state’s safer-at-home order.

This variance is essentially the county asking the state for permission to follow different guidelines than the ones outlined by the state.

“This is our recognition that our community is working together like never before,” said Dr. Joe Adragna, a Montrose physician, who’s also the Pandemic Medical Specialist and Pandemic Incident Commander for the county, as well as the medical advisor to the public health director.

According to Dr. Adragna, the application has 15 signatures from nine different agencies in support of the variance.

“We are taking, what we believe to be, a measured approach using local factors in that assessment, and we believe that by these variance, if approved, would not overwhelm our system,” said Dr. Adragna.

This variance is specifically seeking limited capacity at restaurants, gyms, and churches.

“For the church community, it’s very important for them to meet on Sundays when they haven’t been able to for quite a while now, and I think it’s a constitutional right, freedom of religion,” said Montrose County Commissioner Keith Caddy from District 1.

According to Commissioner Caddy, Montrose is prepared.

“Montrose Memorial has a large capacity with ventilators, they could take a surge,” said Commissioner Cady.

“And we’ve got a robust outbreak mitigation plan now in place, with ample ability to test those employees or those who are exposed,” said Dr. Adragna.

Dr. Adragna advises people to continue to be cautious.

“This variance application is not an endorsement for people to just go back to normal, our model says that if that was to happen tomorrow we would have a problem,” said Dr. Adragna.

Especially in Montrose where a large part of the population is at-risk.

“Those high-risk populations are more likely to have complications, so I’d ask them to be careful in their activities,” said Dr. Adragna.

“The responsibility falls upon the individual to keep themselves safe and if you don’t feel comfortable going to a restaurant, please don’t go,” said Commissioner Caddy.

According to Montrose County resident Bart Traynor, safety is important.

“When I go into a store or come into town, then I use the right precautions and respect everybody,” said Traynor.

Businesses can benefit from this variance if it’s passed.

“I think some of the people here could use the revenue, otherwise it’s going to be a tough summer for everybody,” said Traynor.

For now, Dr. Adragna says this variance means progress.

“It’s a recognition that your healthcare system is strong and that it’s ready to take care of the need of the community, but that we are a team and we need to do this together,” said Dr. Adragna.

Wednesday’s report from Montrose County Public Health shows a total of 129 positive cases of COVID-19 out of 890 tests.

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