Polis Extends Mask Order As Colorado’s Coronavirus Hospitalizations Climb

Jared Polis
David Zalubowski/AP
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis pulls on a face covering after making a point during a news conference, Sept. 29, 2020, in Denver.

Faced with rising hospitalizations and concern that COVID-19 is continuing to spread in Colorado, Gov. Jared Polis said Friday that a mandatory mask requirement would continue and be extended for at least another 30 days.

During his regular state briefing on the coronavirus, Polis emphasized that while the infection may impact older populations at a higher rate it has resulted in hospitalizations for every age group.

Currently, Coloradans in his age group, 40-49, are overrepresented in hospitalizations for the disease caused by the coronavirus. People in that age group are about 13 percent of Colorado’s population, but now almost 14 percent of those who are hospitalized with COVID-19.

“I’m the most worried I have been since early in July,” Polis said.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 has grown by 110, or nearly 45 percent, since Sept. 28, when 246 were hospitalized. As of Thursday afternoon, 356 were hospitalized with the illness caused by the virus.

Polis attributed the growth in cases and hospitalizations to “coronavirus fatigue,” acknowledging that people are just tired of the virus, and the restrictions.

At the same time, he warned that, with winter coming, Coloradans would need to further minimize their contacts with other people, and “wear a damn mask.”

“We’re not through this yet,” Polis said. “I think more of it is behind us than ahead of us, but we need to redouble our efforts.”

Polis’s mask order requires people 11 and older to wear a mask when inside a public space or public transportation.

But, as he has many times during the pandemic, Polis appeared agitated at the notion that Coloradans need a government order to know that wearing a mask would protect them and their families from the spread of a potentially deadly virus.

He called mask-wearing “common sense” and compared it to the spread of athlete’s foot in a gym, noting that, when that happens, everyone puts on shoes for a few days to protect their feet from the fungus.

With the coronavirus, the consequences are far worse, he noted.

“This ain’t athletes foot,” Polis said.

The governor also emphasized the need to avoid crowds as Halloween approaches, revealing that his family intends to decorate a couple of rooms at his home and just trick or treat indoors on Halloween night.

Not everyone will want to do that, he acknowledged, so if you go out, he encouraged it to be done safely.

“Make the mask part of it,” Polis said.