Metro Denver, much of Western Slope now at high COVID-19 risk, CDC says

Metro Denver and much of Colorado’s Western Slope now are at high COVID-19 risk and residents should consider masking up indoors, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As of Friday morning, 13 Colorado counties were at the high risk level on the CDC’s dashboard: Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, Jefferson, La Plata, Mesa, Ouray, Pitkin, Rio Blanco, San Juan and San Miguel.

Previously, only Boulder, Broomfield and Rio Blanco counties were categorized by the CDC as high risk on its dashboard, which is updated once a week.

Nationwide, just under 10% of counties are at the high risk level, according to the CDC.

While the CDC isn’t requiring the public to wear masks in indoor public spaces, it strongly advises that people do so in high-risk areas.

Counties are considered high risk if they had at least 200 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people over the past week, and either had 10 new COVID-19 hospitalizations for every 100,000 people, or more than 10% of their hospital beds are occupied by COVID-19 patients. (Counties could be high risk with lower case counts if they had very high hospitalizations, but that’s not the situation in Colorado.)

The Denver Department of Public Health and Environment issued a statement Friday encouraging residents to check if they’re eligible for a booster and to stay home, except to get tested, if they feel sick. It also advised people at higher risk of severe disease to consider avoiding nonessential indoor activities, and to talk to their doctors about a treatment plan if they test positive.

“While case rates in our community are higher than they have been in recent months, they are far from where they were during the omicron surge,” the department said in a statement. “As there is greater community spread of the virus, DDPHE encourages residents to understand the tools available to personally protect themselves from COVID-19.”

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