Is Larimer County mask order working to slow COVID cases?


LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — Larimer County’s public health order requiring masks in indoor spaces is aimed at curbing COVID-19 case rates and providing relief to strained hospital staff.

The order went into effect Oct. 20. According to county data, the number of Larimer County residents hospitalized with COVID-19 rose for about days after the order was put in place, but quickly started to trend down.

Jared Olson, population epidemiologist for Larimer County, said hospitalizations among Larimer County patients have dropped by about 30% since the order went into effect, but the total number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized in the county has gone up slightly. Olson said that likely represents patients coming from outside their county.

“We’re kind of getting into this paradox where we are a regional hospital system, but as a local public health agency, we can really only work within Larimer County. We really try to maximize whatever mitigation and prevention strategies we have at our disposal,” Olson said.

Olson said the mark order has not impacted their vaccination rate. Unlike metro counties, Larimer County does not have the option for businesses to become “vaccine verified.” The designation allows businesses to drop masks if they can prove at least 95% of people inside are vaccinated at all times.

Olson said they are seeing some results from the local mask order, but it will take a broader effort to achieve greater change.

“I’m really grateful to see the metro counties joining in with this because we’re certainly not on our own up here,” Olson said.

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