Public health experts in Colorado are taking a guarded approach to growing worries about delta variants
Some metro counties support new suggestions for CDC masks, Polis says he will take guidelines
Colorado’s public health leaders have reacted cautiously to news that the rapidly spreading Delta variant could pose an even greater threat than was thought, preaching the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines as some metro agencies recommended inoculated residents to restart wearing masks in public areas.
At the end of the week, the Tri-County Health Department, Jefferson County Public Health and BroomField Public Health and Environment released statements echoing the new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recommended that vaccinated people mask themselves in counties with significant coronavirus transmission.
The CDC guidelines apply to most of the counties of Colorado, including the whole Metro and Front Range of Denver.
John Douglas, Executive Director of the Tri-County Health Department serving the provinces of Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas told the government that “many health agencies were waiting for the state. “We felt like we weren’t able to wait any longer.”
Although the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment had not taken a public position on the new CDC mask guidance, the Polis administration emailed a declaration on Friday evening to The Denver Post indicating it “updated the CDC guidance.”
The mask recommendation was not specifically referred to, and the Gov. Jared Polis spokesperson did not answer demands.
The state department of health announced later Friday night that it has amended its recommendations back-to-school based on the component of the CDC new guidance that calls on all students, employees, and visitors to K-12 schools to wear masks. The new recommendation from the state suggests that districts of Colorado “take into account mask requirements for all unvaccinated people or for everyone in schools”
In answer to questions from The Post, the State Health Department’s representative stated in an email that “we do not plan for a new statewide mask mandate at this point in time,” however, did not decide whether Colorado is going to follow the CDC in recommending vaccinated persons in high-transmission wear masks in public places in indoors.
“It is perfectly appropriate to lead local health authorities, with the great variety of disease transmission and vaccination in the state, for some counties with vaccination rates in the 40’s and others in the 80’s,” said Conor Cahill, the Governor’s Speaker in an email.
Officials of Denver pointed out that the existing public health order of the city forcing unvaccinated persons to wear masks expires throughout the weekend. The city aims to publish a new public health directive on Monday. Monday.
“We accept this guideline and encourage individuals and companies in their choosing to wear a facial cover that is best for them,” stated the Department of Public Health and Environment of Denver in the weekly COVID-19 update report on the new recommendations of the CDC.
New evidence showing that vaccinated patients infected by the delta form — the so-called ‘transparent’ cases — could spread the virus to others have triggered the CDC’s shift in its recommendations.
“The greatest worry I have is that Delta is so contagious that people who have been properly vaccinated have a higher likelihood of breakthroughs,” said Dawn Comstock, CEO of the Jefferson County Public Health.
Officials of public health stress that COVID-19 vaccines against serious disease and death remain highly effective. Infections with breakthroughs are relatively infrequent.
However, the findings from the CDC suggest that “we need to take all these seriously and be careful how we approach them,” said Alex Huffman, an aerosol scientist at Denver University. “Masks are doing amazing work in preventing this illness from spreading.”
Three local public health agencies did not require masks in public indoor environments, although Comstock and Douglas did not rule out the potential of a mandate when their areas observed a marked increase in cases and hospitalizations.
Douglas suggested the moment for masks was not right.
“We do have vaccines and in many regions of the state we have a population that are careful about public health regulations,” he said, adding, “honestly, if we would require anything, I would encourage employers to purchase the vaccine.”
Efforts are already under way to vaccinate more Coloradans. UCHealth and Denver Health said they were ordering the vaccinations this week. On Friday, Polis declared that State workers will have to be tested and masked in indoor public locations twice weekly, unless they are vaccinated.
According to official data, 62% of all eligible Coloradans are currently vaccinated.
“I hear from state employees who are scared that they will be given COVID-19 and want a mandate for the immunisation of their vaccinated co-workers and from other state workers who are hesitant about the vaccine,” Polis said in a statement. “I believe that this middle path is right and that the right of state workers to decide is respected while taking effective steps to meet the valid security concerns of their fellow State workers,” “
For now, companies, schools and other entities have a great deal of weight on masks and immunizations.
The second-largest school district in the state, Jeffco Public Schools, stated on Friday, also that it will require pupils between 3 and 11 years of age – who are not eligible for COVID-19 immunizations — to use indoor faces when school resumes.
Once again, two cafés in Denver – the Weathervane Cafe and Wooden Spoon Cafe & Bakery – require guests to wear masks.
“I think we repeat history and it isn’t historic, but it’s recent,” said Lindsay Dalton, owner of The Wettervane Café with her husband, adding, “I just hope we have a mandate to be official so that we don’t have to politize people like that.
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