Gov. Jared Polis extends mask order in Colorado
Gov. Jared Polis extended the statewide executive order he initially issued in July requiring mask-wearing indoors in an effort to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
The extension of the order includes an amendment in which waivers for certain indoor activities that take place for a limited time period may be granted if such activities cannot practically or safely be performed while wearing a mask.
The governor's office said the waiver will be limited, and a form to apply will be made available by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment in the near future.
After being reluctant to do so, Polis initially issued the executive order mandating indoor mask-wearing on July 16 after a post-Fourth of July spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations was being seen statewide.
That surge calmed back down shortly thereafter, but another spike is being seen now.
As of Saturday, the three-day average of cases in Colorado sat at 790, the highest that figure has ever been. It has since declined to 715, as of Monday. That number valleyed at 231 cases on Sept. 7 following the post-Fourth of July spike before rising again. The highest the three-day average of cases across the state got following Fourth of July came on July 24 with 703 cases.
COVID-19 testing across the state has also picked up significantly, and the percentage of individuals testing positive has seen an uptick.
More daily tests have been done in 10 of the 16 days from Sep. 25 through Oct. 10 than at any time since the pandemic began, according to the state's numbers. That includes a record of over 22,000 people being tested on Friday.
As of Monday, the percentage of people testing positive for coronavirus across Colorado was at 4.89%, up from the most recent low point of 3.17% on Sept. 29.
Hospitalizations of individuals with confirmed COVID-19 have been climbing as well.
That number was at 284 on Monday, up from 142 a month ago on Sept. 11.
The greatest number of people who have been hospitalized with confirmed COVID-19 across the state on any one day came on April 14 when 888 were in the hospital. The lowest that figure has reached was 126 on June 27.
There are 4% of available hospital beds in Colorado being occupied by confirmed and suspected COVID-19 patients.
In his weekly press briefings on the state's response to the coronavirus, Polis repeatedly stresses the importance of mask-wearing to stop the spread of the virus.
In the written order, Polis states that widespread mask use is a low cost and "highly effective" way to reduce the spread of coronavirus infections by as much as 65% and that broad adoption of mask wearing in the state may have significant economic benefits by allowing the state to prevent re-closures of businesses and schools.
The mask-wearing order applies to every Coloradan age 10 and up, with some exceptions for certain activities and professions.
The extension means the order is set to expire on Nov. 11 unless extended again.