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Mask mandate applies to all regardless of vaccination status to mitigate record high COVID transmission across the county
SUMMIT COUNTY, December 29, 2021 -- The Summit County Public Health Director, with support from the Board of Health (BOH) will reinstate a countywide indoor mask mandate today for all individuals in public areas, regardless of vaccination status. A new public health order to that effect will become active at midnight on Dec. 29 and applies to all public indoor spaces, such as public facilities, businesses, and other common spaces. The new public health order is set to expire on Jan. 31, 2022, and will be re-evaluated at that time.
The decision by the Department of Public Health was made in response to an alarming increase in COVID-19 cases in the community during the past week as medical providers reported a dramatic spike in the number of sick individuals. Summit County currently has the highest incidence in the country.
A public health alert issued Monday requested the public to wear face coverings within indoor public settings. Officials believe the spike is due to the rise of the highly transmissible Omicron variant in the community, likely as a result of gatherings indoors during the holidays.
Due to the fact that Colorado is experiencing high levels of incidence, the county’s medical infrastructure is at serious risk of being unable to accommodate individuals seeking medical care, whether due to COVID-19 related illness among the health care workforce or an increase in hospitalizations due to COVID and other high level treatment needs.
Masking is one of the most effective ways to protect the workforce and in person learning, as well as give more time for the community to receive a booster dose. Mask mandates have been proven to increase masking. Masking in public spaces will help control the spread in these settings. However, it is critical that individuals also take personal responsibility to stop the spread by getting vaccinated and boosted, avoiding social gatherings unless outside or only with people who have been given a booster dose, physical distancing, staying home when sick, getting tested as well as following isolation and quarantine protocols.
Booster doses of mRNA vaccine have been proven to increase the effectiveness of immune response to the Omicron variant, 75% with the booster dose vs. 35% without the booster dose. Summit County’s rate of booster doses received by those eligible is 27.5%, far below the state rate of 58%.
Summit County Public Health will continue to provide robust availability of the COVID-19 vaccine and boosters for all eligible individuals. Public Health officials note the importance of testing immediately when individuals have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or after being exposed to someone with the disease.
Individuals that experience cold or flu-like symptoms should stay home and seek testing for COVID-19. Testing is widely available and free of cost in Summit County. We continue to work with the state and local providers to increase our testing and vaccination capacity. Information on testing locations can be found at the Summit County Government Testing webpage.
Summit County Public Health has expanded their vaccine clinic event offering. A complete list of upcoming vaccination events and links to register for an event can be found at