Colorado shirks mask and vaccine requirements as others take action
When it comes to COVID-19 in Colorado, the state says you are essentially on your own.
Federal, state, and local governments across the country accept mask requirements or mandatory coronavirus vaccinations.
But until now, Colorado leaders have not followed suit.
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The big picture: According to the new guidelines released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in areas with “significant” to “high” COVID-19 transmission, anyone - vaccinated or not - should wear masks in To be worn indoors.
In addition, rising case numbers and groundbreaking cases among those vaccinated associated with the Delta variant led the CDC to recommend everyone in K-12 schools wear masks when they return to school in the fall.
In numbers, CDC data shows the majority of Colorado counties have achieved “significant” or “high” transmission rates, and more may qualify soon.
The 42 counties include Denver, Adams, Arapahoe, El Paso, Larimer, Weld, Summit, and Mesa counties.
What Happens: Governor Jared Polis recently dismissed the need for a mask mandate and his office told Axios yesterday that he wouldn't need COVID-19 vaccines for the state's 30,000 or so employees.
The state will also not pursue vaccine mandates for health care workers, reports the Colorado Sun.
Without national guidelines, there is confusion over public health best practices and pressure on local officials builds.
In Denver, the Hancock government is not currently endorsing mandatory vaccines for community workers or elected officials, but "is closely monitoring the Delta variant," Mayor spokesman Mike Strott told Axios.
Across the state, many Colorado parents are still waiting to find out if their children will have to wear masks for the upcoming school year, our reporting partners at Chalkbeat write.
At Denver Health, the city's public hospital, leadership is having "a lot of conversation and reflection on the need for vaccines," but a final decision has not yet been made, spokeswoman April Valdez Villa told Axios.
Between the lines: Polis's inaction is not surprising. From the start, the Democratic governor opposed and downplayed statewide mandates like a lockdown and masks before he was pressured to take them over.
However, state health officials recently asked nursing home staff to get vaccinated or take daily tests to limit the spread in these facilities.
The bottom line: don't expect statewide mandates from polis, but if prices get more serious, local officials may be forced to act themselves.
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