COVID In Colorado: Looser Mask Mandates, Vaccine Walk-Ins And Rising Cases

May 3, 2021
Masks proliferate the grandstands as the Rockies face off against the Los Angeles Dodgers on opening day at Coors Field. April 1, 2021.Masks proliferate the grandstands as the Rockies face off against the Los Angeles Dodgers on opening day at Coors Field. April 1, 2021.Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Masks proliferate the grandstands as the Rockies face off against the Los Angeles Dodgers on opening day at Coors Field. April 1, 2021.

In the last week, Colorado’s mask mandate has become less restrictive (again), fewer COVID vaccine sites are requiring appointments and cases are still rising among young people. Here’s a breakdown of where things are at. 

Masks: 

In April Gov. Polis amended Colorado’s statewide mask mandate, completely releasing counties from indoor mask wearing if they have under 35 COVID cases per week, per 100,000 people. 

Also at that time, Colorado counties that had more than 35 COVID cases per week, per 100,000 people required that masks must continue to be worn in public, indoor spaces with 10 or more people who have not been vaccinated or whose vaccination status is unknown. 

That’s all still true. 

But, on Sunday, Gov. Polis modified the statewide indoor mask order yet again, making those restrictions just a bit looser. Here’s what changed: 

  • Masks are not required in other public, indoor places if 80% of people provide proof of vaccination
  • This applies to all counties, regardless of whether they have more than 35 COVID cases per week per 100,000 people
  • Though the executive order states that individuals must show proof of vaccination to get mask-free status, it is unclear how businesses will enforce the rule

No matter what, masks are still mandatory in the following places: Schools, childcare centers, indoor children’s camps, public-facing government facilities, health care settings and personal services (like salons and barbershops). And, counties can still opt for stricter mask-wearing rules than the state has put out. 

This could all change again in a few weeks though, as the statewide, indoor mask order is set to expire in early June.

Vaccines:

As of May 3, here's where things stand:

  • People in Colorado who have been fully immunized: 1,913,153
  • Total Colorado population: 5,773,714
  • Percent of people immunized: 33 Percent

Colorado vaccine providers have resumed giving out the one-shot, Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine after the FDA and CDC lifted a pause.  

If you have not yet gotten a COVID vaccine, you can do so without an appointment at any of Colorado’s six mass vaccination sites or by making an appointment with a different provider. 

Remember that you do not need an ID to get the COVID vaccine. Also — Colorado employers are required to give you paid time-off to get your shot.  

Cases and Hospitalizations:

While Colorado has fully vaccinated nearly two million people, the state is fighting off a fourth wave — and this time, it's mostly younger people who are getting infected. 

While deaths remain relatively low compared to the winter, case counts and hospitalizations are the highest it’s been in months. According to CDC data, Colorado has one of the highest 7-day case rates in the country, at 6.01 percent.

Health officials said at coronavirus briefing in late April that counties with high vaccination rates have the lowest case counts, and vice versa. Denver, Boulder and Jefferson counties are currently leading the pack in vaccination rates, while El Paso and Pueblo counties lag behind the rest of the state. 

Here’s a breakdown by age group, of positive COVID cases for the week of April 25: 

  • 0-19 years old: 26.48%
  • 20-39 years old: 37.87%
  • 40-59 years old: 26.18%
  • 60-79 years old: 8.07%
  • 80+ years old: 1.37%

More, on COVID in Colorado:

What do you want to know about COVID or the vaccine in Colorado? Send an email to health@cpr.org and we’ll try to answer it.

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