Tri-County Health Department Amends Face Covering Order to Require Masks Indoors Only
Today, April 5, 2021, the Tri-County Health Department (TCHD) amended its face covering order currently in place for Adams, Arapahoe, and Douglas counties to remove the requirement that face coverings be worn in outdoor public spaces. The TCHD order will remain in place until June 30, 2021, unless rescinded, amended, or extended.
“We’re not out of the woods yet,” said John M. Douglas, Jr., MD, Executive Director of Tri-County Health Department. “Until every person has had the opportunity to get the COVID-19 vaccine, many in our communities remain at risk for serious illness from this virus. By continuing to wear face coverings we can protect our friends and loved ones and minimize the impact that outbreaks have on our schools and businesses.”
Increasing spread of potentially more severe and contagious variant strains and changes in individual behaviors are major sources of uncertainty at this point in the pandemic. According to modeling done by the Colorado School of Public Health in the last week of March, approximately 27% of Coloradans are currently immune due to vaccination and/or prior infection. While about 68% of Coloradans age 65 years and older are estimated to be immune and hospitalizations of older adults has declined, modeling suggests that continuing to maintain prevention behaviors such as wearing face coverings when in public spaces can prevent large numbers of deaths and hospitalizations. Mask-wearing will be especially important as our businesses are allowed to more fully re-open over the next six weeks.
The face covering order requires that individuals older than ten years old must wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when entering or within any public indoor space. In addition, parents, custodians, and caregivers are strongly encouraged to have their children between two and ten years old wear a face covering, with supervision. A key update from the original face covering public health order which was issued on July 24, 2020, is that the requirement for use of face coverings outdoors when within six feet of another person has been removed.
The Colorado face covering order specifies in which public areas a face covering must be worn and permits public health agencies to adjust their face covering requirements if counties are in level Green on the Colorado COVID Dial. The TCHD face covering order requires face coverings in all public indoor spaces and regardless of the position of a county on the state Dial.
This order is currently relevant to all parts of Adams, Arapahoe, and Douglas counties that did not opt out of the order*. In addition, any county or municipality in the Tri-County Health Department jurisdiction that previously opted out of the face covering order may opt back in at any time.
Face coverings should be worn regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status, except in situations exempted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Following all precautions, including wearing a mask and keeping social distance of at least six feet from others is still very important, particularly when visiting unvaccinated people from multiple households or anyone who is at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease.
“We are still learning more about the question of whether vaccinated people can transmit the virus to others. So, for now, it’s important to wear a mask and keep a safe distance to stop further spread,” said Douglas.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that mask mandates may reduce community-wide COVID-19 transmission and hospitalizations due to COVID-19. A face covering mandate can work in concert with social distancing and frequent hand washing protocols to minimize the spread of COVID-19 by reducing the exposure of individuals to the virus and by reducing the spread of respiratory droplets.
In addition to wearing masks, the spread of the virus can be reduced or prevented through social distancing, testing, isolation if a person is sick, quarantine if a person has been exposed, case investigation, contact tracing, and vaccination. For more information visit www.tchd.org/covid.
* Jurisdictions that have opted out of the TCHD order include:
The following jurisdictions have opted out of the requirements of this order:
Arapahoe County East of Watkins Road to county line
City of Castle Pines
City of Glendale
Town of Bennett
Town of Castle Rock
Town of Deer Trail
Town of Parker
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