Governor, state health department stress vaccines over mask mandate

Coronavirus

GLENDALE, Colo. (KDVR) — Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment leaders are telling people to wear masks indoors, but not issuing another statewide order for them.

Within the last week, six local health departments wrote Gov. Jared Polis and CDPHE a letter, asking for the mask mandate and a vaccine passport program to help get the state’s hospitalization surge under control.

Just two days before that letter was dated, FOX31 asked Polis if he planned to issue a new mask mandate. He responded, “I encourage every Coloradan when they’re indoors around others to wear a mask.”

Wednesday, in light of the letter and rising COVID-19 cases, CDPHE was asked if it would go against the governor’s wishes and issue stronger public health orders.

“We should all be wearing masks right now,” said Scott Bookman, Colorado’s COVID-19 Incident Commander. “Regardless of whether there’s a mandate in place or not, this is a way to keep ourselves safe.”

Both Bookman and Polis point to new data that shows how vaccines are protecting people in Colorado.

People who are fully vaccinated are 3.9 times less likely to contract COVID-19, 10 times less likely to be hospitalized because of it and 13.4 times less likely to die from it, according to CDPHE.

“If we had … 90% less people in our hospitals, this wouldn’t even be a crisis,” Polis said.

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