Gov. Jared Polis on Friday announced he plans to extend Colorado’s statewide mask mandate for another 30 days as hospitalizations for the coronavirus continue to increase.
“This is the most worried I’ve been since mid-July,” the governor said during an afternoon news conference, regarding the upward trajectory in COVID-19 patients.
Polis has extended his order, originally issued in mid-July, on a month-by-month basis. It currently is set to expire Monday.
Polis noted that minority groups — including Black, Hispanic and American Indian individuals — have been overrepresented in hospitalizations since the pandemic began, but that the recent growth in patients has been drive by white Coloradans.
Hospitalizations also have increased outside the Denver area, the governor said, with more than 40% of patients being seen outside the metro region.
There are currently 268 people hospitalized statewide for the novel coronavirus, according to Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment data.
That number is still considerably lower than April’s peak of 888 confirmed COVID-19 patients, but marks the highest total since July 20.
As of Friday, 80% of Colorado’s intensive care unit beds were in use.
“I’m challenging my fellow Coloradans,” Polis said. “Reduce the number of people you see every day.”
The global supply chain has stabilized enough that state hospitals are not desperate for PPE, the governor said — but he noted that all can change if outbreaks occur elsewhere in the country or the world.
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