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As COVID-19 cases rise, should you go back to wearing a mask?

Dr. Ricardo González-Fisher and Vanessa Bernal spoke with 9NEWS about precautions Coloradans can take amid high levels of transmission in Denver and the metro area.

COLORADO, USA — With the Denver metro area at a high transmission rate for COVID-19, Dr. Ricardo González-Fisher with Servicios de la Raza and state health department spokesperson Vanessa Bernal joined 9NEWS on Tuesday to talk about what Coloradans can do to stop the spread of the virus.

On Friday, Denver moved to the red level for COVID-19 transmission rates, the highest level possible, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Other counties at red level include Boulder, Broomfield, Jefferson, Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas.

According to Bernal, with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), Colorado has:

  • 1,389 reported cases
  • 94 new hospitalizations

She said the state's seven-day moving average positivity rate had a slight increase from two weeks ago and stands at 12.14%. This is a level that exceeds the state's goal of 5% or less.

As for vaccination in the Hispanic community, Bernal said the number continues to slowly increase. She said that the number of people immunized with at least one dose is 40.23%.

That percentage, however, increases by almost 10% when using the projection model that the state introduced in March in an effort to get a more accurate number.

According to Bernal, it's a model percentage based on the ZIP code where people were vaccinated because ethnicity is often left blank.

“It is a projection number because many people do not report their ethnicity or race," she said. "A projection model where it is estimated that 48.23% of people immunized with one dose are from the Hispanic community.”

In Colorado, "the Hispanic community represents 22% of the total population," Bernal said.

As in previous weeks, González-Fisher continued to push Coloradans to use common sense measures when it comes to COVID.

"The idea is, even if you feel that you are not going to get sick, maybe you can take it home to someone who can get sick," he said. "Be compassionate."

Gonzalez-Fisher said people should assume that a little more than half of the population is not vaccinated.

“Out of common sense we are understanding that at least 50% of the people that we are living with are not vaccinated. I’m talking about the Hispanic community,” Gonzalez-Fisher added.

He recommended that people wear a mask indoors, even if masks aren't required, practice social distancing, use disinfectant frequently and get tested if they are exposed to COVID or have symptoms.

“Since COVID-19 can present itself asymptomatically, we can sit next to a person who has the disease, who has coughed and touched something, and then we touch it ourselves,” he said.

Gonzalez-Fisher said he, too, has adjusted his behavior around COVID. He still wears a mask, even if he is the only one who uses it during his regular visits to the consulate to vaccinate people.

So far, he said it seems to be working.

"I haven't gotten sick," he said.

Servicios De La Raza, the state's largest nonprofit serving Latinos, continues to offer its vaccination clinic every Tuesday from 4 to 8 p.m. at the organization, which is located at 3131 W. 14th Ave.

From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays, they also have a mobile clinic at the Mexican Consulate, at 5350 Leetsdale Drive, Suite #100.

Appointments are not required at the Mexican Consulate but are recommended for the Tuesday clinic after hours. People can call Servicios de la Raza to make an appointment at (303) 458-5851.

No form of identification, Social Security number or health insurance is required to get vaccinated.

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