Protect Our Neighbors Phase

What is Protect Our Neighbors?

​Local public health agencies are able to contain surges in cases and outbreaks through testing, case investigation, contact tracing, isolation, quarantine, site-specific closures, and enforcement of public health orders.

This means communities that meet certain criteria have less stringent restrictions, and may permit activities at 50 percent of pre-pandemic capacity, with at least six feet between non-household members, and no more than 500 people in one setting at a time. Communities that can demonstrate strong public health and health care systems -- paired with low virus levels -- will be able to take on more control over their own reopening plans. Strong local public health and health care systems are the key to reopening the economy. Different communities will be at different phases, based on local conditions and capabilities.

Is Protect Our Neighbors Currently in Effect?

No, this phase is not currently in effect. Local counties and regions will need to take several steps to qualify.

  1. Certify qualification according to the scientific metrics below.
  2. Submit a mitigation and containment plan on what the county or region will do if they fall out of compliance with any of the metrics. The plan must also include how counties will promote public compliance with the guidelines; increase mask-wearing in public settings; and increase flu vaccine uptake, to ensure we don’t lose health care system capacity needed for COVID-19.

Metrics Include:

Must achieve all 8 Protect Our Neighbors metrics and complete the certification process:

  • Sufficient hospital bed capacity.
  • Sufficient PPE Supply.
  • Stable or declining COVID-19 hospitalizations.
  • Fewer new cases.
  • Sufficient testing capacity.
  • Ability to implement case investigation and contact tracing protocol. 
  • Documented surge-capacity plan for case investigation and contact tracing.
  • Documented strategies to offer testing to close contacts.