Polis pushes more Coloradans to get vaccinated, says “it’s a good idea to wear masks” in crowded spaces – The Denver Post

Gov. Jared Polis urged more Coloradans to get vaccinated against COVID-19 on Monday, saying coronavirus infections and hospitalizations are rising once again as the delta variant sweeps the state.

The governor did not say whether the state will issue guidance mirroring the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which last week recommended vaccinated people wear masks in indoor public settings in places with significant transmission of the virus. But he said that he “encourage(s) people to take additional precautions.”

“If you’re around others in a busy place, it’s a good idea to wear masks,” Polis said during a news briefing. “But… most importantly, if you haven’t been vaccinated, please get vaccinated.”

Just over 70% of the 4.9 million Coloradans eligible for COVID-19 vaccines have received the shots, Polis said.

There were 314 people hospitalized with confirmed COVID-19 on Friday, which is the latest state data available.

Initially, Colorado public health officials moved slowly to respond to new data from the CDC that suggests vaccinated people infected by the delta variant can spread the virus.

Three agencies — Tri-County Health Department, Jefferson County Public Health and Broomfield Public Health and Environment — last week recommended that people inoculated against the virus begin wearing masks again in indoor public spaces.

The governor also announced Friday that any state employees who remain unvaccinated will have to get tested twice a week and continue wearing masks in indoor settings.

On Monday, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock ordered the city and county’s more than 10,000 employees to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. The mandate also includes people in the private sector who work in health care, schools and correctional facilities.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has updated its guidance for the upcoming K-12 academic year, saying that school districts should consider requiring masks for all staff members and students. The agency, however, is also still recommending another option: that schools mandate face coverings for only unvaccinated students.

Neither guidances by the agency mandates masks in schools. At least two districts — Littleton Public Schools and the Douglas County School District — have announced they will not require face coverings for employees or students.

Westminster Public Schools is requiring all staff and students to wear masks. Denver Public Schools has not yet said whether there will be rules.


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