LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. — Masks will soon be required in public indoor spaces in Larimer County under a new public health order issued Friday.
According to a release from the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment (LCDHE), Public Health Director Tom Gonzales issued the order requiring people in Larimer County to wear masks in all public indoor spaces due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 on local ICU capacity.
> The video above, about Larimer County's hospital capacity, aired on Oct. 9.
The order goes into effect on Wednesday, Oct. 20 at noon, according to the release.
The release said facilities that want to implement mandatory vaccination policies for staff, patrons and guests will be able to apply to become an Approved Verified Facility and be exempted from the mask requirements if they get approval from LCDHE. More information on that will come later, according to the release.
Hospitals in Larimer County have been at or above capacity for weeks. Gonzales previously said hospitals have had to turn away patients due to a lack of room.
Currently, the release said 40% of patients in Larimer County hospitals have COVID-19 and 90% of them are unvaccinated.
“Larimer County hospitals are being overburdened and we cannot allow this to continue indefinitely," Gonzales said in the release. "Our hospitals need relief so they can swiftly and adequately treat all urgent medical needs in our community. Vaccination is the best way out of this pandemic, but 35% of Larimer County’s population remains unvaccinated against COVID-19. Universal mask-wearing is the next best prevention tool we have to reduce the strain on our hospitals.”
The release said the mask mandate will remain in place until Larimer County has met the following metrics for 21 consecutive days or until it is extended, rescinded superseded, or amended by Gonzales:
- Fewer than 65 COVID-19 patients in Larimer County hospitals
- Intensive care unit utilization at less than 90% of usual and customary levels
- A Larimer County 7-day case rate per 100k less than 300
- A Larimer County 7-day test positivity rate under 10%
Boulder and Pitkin counties also implemented mask mandates recently as the state sees a surge in hospitalizations due to COVID-19.
According to the most recent data shared by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), 982 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in Colorado and 78% of them are unvaccinated. Currently, 93% of Colorado's ICU beds are in use, according to CDPHE.
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