COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Pandemic safety restrictions in Colorado could ease sooner than expected, based on a proposed update to the state's COVID-19 dial.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is considering changes to the state's current system, which designates guidelines for coronavirus restrictions and capacity levels in each county.
This 'Dial 2.0' is based on feedback from local leaders, in an effort to better balance current pandemic needs with economic hardship.
"It makes sense if you think about the lifespan of a pandemic, that there are different interventions depending on where you are," Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Eric France said.
The move comes as state health officials said Monday, Colorado is experiencing a steady drop in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.
"We had a little bit of a holiday spike that followed Christmas and New Years, but since that time, we really have been steadily declining," State Epidemiologist, Dr. Rachel Herlihy said.
Health officials said it's also due to progress in the state's vaccination efforts.
"Now we're in a place where healthcare workers and the most vulnerable, the most likely to die or be hospitalized, are becoming vaccinated. So, it's a different place than six months ago," France said.
The 'Dial 2.0' would loosen certain metric requirements, which would allow some counties to move to a lower level. Metrics tracked within a 14-day time period would be reduced to 7-days. The percentage of Coloradans needing to test positive for the virus in each level would shrink as well.
El Paso County, which is currently meeting two of the three criteria needed to move from Level Orange to Level Yellow, would immediately shift under the proposed changes.
"These different things may have a different role for the next iteration of the dial, which is absolutely what we should be doing, given we're in a different place in the pandemic," France said.
State health leaders said they plan to update the COVID-19 dial system again, in the spring and summer based on the continued pandemic response.
Previously, Governor Jared Polis updated the dial system in November to create Level Purple, reflecting record cases and hospitalizations experienced at that time.