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Gov. Polis officially extends statewide mask mandate

This comes as COVID-19 hospitalizations and positivity rates continue to rise in the state.

DENVER, Colorado — Gov. Jared Polis (D-Colorado) announced Sunday he has once again extended the statewide mask mandate for another 30 days to help slow to spread of COVID-19.

Friday, Polis said he would be renewing the order because wearing masks is the most effective tool against the novel coronavirus. 

"We have been very alarmed by recent trends, the mask wearing will absolutely have to continue,"  Polis said during an update from the Governor's Residence Friday. "It's one of the most important tools we have. It's one of the things that separates Colorado from most of our neighboring states that are currently hotspots."

RELATED: Mask mandate to be renewed amid concern over coronavirus hospitalizations

The statewide mandate was set to expire Monday.

Polis said Colorado's rate of mask wearing is much higher than places like the Dakotas and Wisconsin, which had to activate its field hospital to make sure they can meet capacity needs.

"They have a lower mask wearing rate than the rest of the nation, around the 45% range," Polis said. "I don't have the most recent numbers from Colorado, but last I saw we were in the 80s."

The governor held a briefing Friday as Colorado's seven-day positivity rate and the number of hospitalizations continue to creep up.

RELATED: Colorado coronavirus latest numbers, Oct. 11

Friday, Polis detailed just who is in the hospital, and while about a quarter are between 60 and 69, he noted that just over 6% of those currently in the hospital are in their 20s.

"This can take people in their prime and make them sick and infirm and hospitalized; most will get better thanks to the treatment that exists and some will not," he said. "As a society, we need to make sure those treatments are there for those who need it."

The virus is also more spread out across the state than it was at the beginning of the pandemic, when most of the cases were in metro areas. Now, according to the data, about 40% of those currently hospitalized are outside large cities.

The executive order requires all Coloradoans wear a face covering while in public indoor locations, with some exceptions.

RELATED: State committee releases preliminary plan for distributing COVID-19 vaccine