Summit County, with highest COVID rate in US, issues indoor mask mandate


SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — Summit County has issued an indoor mask mandate for everyone in the county age 2 and older, regardless of vaccination status, as COVID-19 cases are “skyrocketing” in the county.

“The decision by the Department of Public Health was made in response to an alarming increase in COVID-19 cases in the community during the past week as medical providers reported a dramatic spike in the number of sick individuals,” Summit County stated in a news release. “Summit County currently has the highest incidence in the country.”

The Summit County Public Health Department held an emergency meeting and updated its COVID-19 public health order Wednesday to include the indoor mask requirement.

The rule, which goes into effect on Thursday, Dec. 30, applies to public places and common spaces throughout the county, according to Summit County Public Health. As of now, the order lasts through Jan. 31.

“Due to the fact that Colorado is experiencing high levels of incidence, the county’s medical infrastructure is at serious risk of being unable to accommodate individuals seeking medical care, whether due to COVID-19 related illness among the health care workforce or an increase in hospitalizations due to COVID and other high-level treatment needs,” the county said.

The order applies to all public indoor spaces, including schools and childcare facilities and public transportation.

Some exceptions are included in the order, like while people are actively drinking or eating or for people who have a medically certified reason for not wearing a face covering. View the order for a full list of exceptions.

The county urged people to protect themselves and loved ones from the coronavirus by:

  • wearing a mask,
  • avoiding gatherings,
  • washing hands,
  • staying home when sick
  • and getting tested.

The omicron variant now accounts for more than 90% of all COVID-19 cases in Colorado in just a matter of weeks since it was first detected in the state. Cases statewide are rising, as are hospitalizations, according to the state.

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