Colorado health agencies urge Jared Polis to issue mask warrant and passports for vaccines


A group of metropolitan public health agencies urged Colorado Governor Jared Polis to issue mask warrant and statewide vaccine passports indoors due to an increase in COVID-19 in state hospitals.

The Metro Denver Partnership for Health sent the letter Friday to Polis and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Executive Director Jill Ryan. The group includes Boulder County Public Health, the City and County of Broomfield, Denver Public Health and Environment, the Public Health Institute of Denver Health, Jefferson County Public Health and Tri-County Health Department whose directors signed the letter.

Health officials have called for requiring proof of vaccination for customers and staff in indoor areas considered high-risk such as bars, restaurants, gyms, sporting events and other gatherings of large groups, and for blankets. -Faces for people 2 years and older in public indoor environments that do not require vaccine passports.

“The implementation of these mitigation strategies is urgently needed, along with expanding access to free monoclonal antibody treatments and other actions that take the strain off the health system, in order to protect the capacity already compromised hospitable Colorado, ”the letter said. “These requirements must be statewide, given the state-wide nature of Colorado’s shared hospital ecosystem.”

Polis resisted issuing another statewide mask warrant (the last one mostly ended in May) and, in July, declared Colorado’s pandemic state of emergency ended. But the number of cases in Colorado has since increased and hospitals have warned that the latest wave of COVID may require rationing of medical care, as noted in the letter. Polis said the state as a whole is now considered high risk and he encouraged all adults at least six months after their vaccinations have finished to receive booster shots.

In an interview with Face of the Nation On Sunday, Polis responded to questions about the implementation of health restrictions by saying companies have put in place their own measures and that COVID-19 is the most dangerous for those who are not vaccinated. Last week he city ​​of New Mexico case counts as similar to those in Colorado, despite its mask order.

In a statement to the Denver Post on Tuesday, governor’s office spokesman Conor Cahill said the governor believes in the science that proves vaccines are the way to end the pandemic.

“We are laser-focused on increasing vaccinations, expanding delivery of monoclonal therapies and building hospital capacity,” Cahill wrote. “The governor is always a willing partner to support local actions tailored to local circumstances such as mask policies and was happy to successfully lead a regional approach to making large indoor spaces safer. “

He also pointed to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment order amended earlier this week that requires people to show proof of vaccination at indoor non-seated events of 500 or more people in six metropolitan counties from Denver, to from November 19.

But public health officials from the Metro Denver Partnership for Health argued in their letter that while they agree that vaccines are the best way out of the pandemic, more is needed, especially with fewer numbers of people. Coloradans vaccinated in parts of the state.

“Mask warrants have proven to be effective. The most recent Colorado School of Public Health modeling report identifies “immediate increases in transmission control measures such as mask wear” as a strategy to reduce future demand from hospitals, “he says. The letter notes that six states have these statewide orders, and all but New Mexico have lower case rates than Colorado.

Dr Bill Burman, executive director of the Public Health Institute of Denver Health and former MDPH co-chair, said on Tuesday that it’s always possible to come up with an example to make a point someone wants to make, but more generally, the data is clear. this masking reduces transmission. Moreover, even in countries with high vaccination rates, they are still battling the transmission of the Delta variant, so that could be another preventive measure, he said.

Agency directors have also called on Polis to require vaccines without allowing regular testing to replace them in several areas of the state, including staff and volunteers at licensed schools and daycares as well as shelters and others. collective life establishments; health care providers who do not already have mandates; and all state, county and city employees, those who serve on boards and commissions and elected councils and contractors.

“In addition to the threats to hospital capacity, the current increase threatens more broadly the ability of our schools to remain open and in person, the continued economic recovery of our region and the health and safety of all Coloradans,” indicates the letter. “We urgently ask for your leadership in responding to this crisis. “

Burman said he was hesitant to use the word “crisis,” but that is justified with the COVID situation in Colorado. In addition to a shortage of available hospital beds, medical providers are seeing early cases of the flu and more social gatherings are expected with the holidays and travel to come.

He believes that if the mask and vaccine orders are implemented, Colorado could see a reduction in the number of cases within two weeks. Some Colorado companies already require proof of vaccination at their events and this has been used as a successful intervention around the country and around the world, Burman said. This type of measure is a way of working with the business world, rather than shutting down businesses, he added.

“No one thinks these will be easy steps to take,” he said. “We certainly don’t. But we believe they are necessary.

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