Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said Friday that cases of coronavirus are higher than ever in the Centennial state’s capital and surrounding county, prompting health officials to take action and enact additional measures to combat the spread.
“Over the past several weeks, we have worked hard to reduce our caseloads and keep hospitalizations from increasing,” Hancock said Friday. “But we need to do more. With the holidays on the horizon, we must take these additional steps over the next 30 days and knuckle down together to do the hard work that needs to be done so we can all enjoy this upcoming holiday season.”
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Increased face mask mandates requiring people to wear masks even when outside have been enforced in Denver and Denver County, and permitted gathering sizes have been reduced from 10 to five people until Nov. 16.
“If you can go virtual, go virtual,” Hancock said, advising people to work from home when possible.
Colorado has seen record-breaking spikes in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the last week, reporting the highest daily case load Monday with 1,005 cases – the highest daily figure reported throughout the entire pandemic.
Prior to this week, the highest number of daily coronavirus cases reported was in April with 967 cases.
Friday saw another spike with 993 confirmed cases.
Hancock told Denver citizens that if they do not take increase precautions, “we likely will fall backwards on the state’s Safer at Home dial to Level 3, and that would be devastating to our economy.”
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“We are working to strike a balance between keeping people healthy and keeping Denver’s economy alive,” Hancock said Friday.
The new mask orders only apply when people are not with members of their own household and when social distancing cannot be achieved.
Though in a press release from the mayor’s office Friday, they said they hoped the five-person limit will be practiced in private settings in people’s homes as well.
Exercise groups are now required to limit their numbers to five or fewer while organized sports groups are not required to follow the new rules because they have had their own strict regulations.
The new policy also does not apply to restaurants, which are regulated through the state, and have previously established protective measures — meaning groups of 10 from different households are still allowed to meet in a restaurant setting.
“We have a responsibility to our community to enact reasonable measures that can temper the rising numbers,” Robert McDonald, Denver’s public health administrator said Friday.
“If we work together now and follow these basic rules, we hope to decrease and stabilize our case numbers. This is how we keep our businesses and restaurants open and our community safe,” he added. “If we are successful, we will hopefully enjoy more freedoms and less fear during the upcoming holidays.”
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Colorado has confirmed nearly 82,000 cases of coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic, according to its Department of Public Health and Environment – nearly 20% of the state’s cases have come from Denver.