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Public Health - News

Posted on: November 23, 2021

Board of Health Issues PHO Requiring Face Coverings in Indoor Public Spaces

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Jefferson County, Colo. – The Jefferson County Board of Health issued Public Health Order 21-006, which requires all individuals ages 3 and older to wear a mask or cloth face covering when in indoor public spaces in Jefferson County, regardless of vaccination status. The Order is effective November 24, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. and shall remain in effect at all times Jefferson County is in Substantial or High Transmission. This decision was made following discussion during a public meeting on November 22  and with extensive input from the community over the last week.

“As cases and hospitalizations have continued to increase sharply at very concerning rates in Jefferson County and across the state, masking indoors is a safe and effective way to reduce the immense stress on our local healthcare system and prevent unnecessary illness, hospitalization and death in our community,” said Lane Drager, Jefferson County Board of Health. “We need community members to pull together and mask up — especially now during the winter months and holiday season when we know residents travel more often, gather with one another and spend more time indoors. Our responsibility as the Board of Health is to protect the health of Jeffco residents, and we are committed to continuing to help lead our community out of this pandemic.”

In Jefferson County, from November 15-21, there have been 2,094 new COVID-19 cases (357.0 per 100,000 residents). From November 2-15, there have been an average of 2.4 hospitalizations per 100,000 residents, and 102 residents are currently hospitalized due to COVID-19. There have been 17 fatalities among Jefferson County residents due to COVID-19 in the last week (November 8-14), and on average, more than 1 death per day among Jefferson County residents since July 9, when cases started increasing. More than 96.2% of ICU hospital beds are in use in the Denver Metro Area.

The CDC recommends masking in indoor public settings in areas where COVID-19 community transmission is substantial or high. Jefferson County remains in CDC’s high transmission category.

“Along with getting a COVID-19 vaccine and getting a booster if you’re eligible, wearing a mask is one of the best things we can do to help get the pandemic under control and to keep each other safe during this continued surge,” said Dr. Dawn Comstock, Executive Director, Jefferson County Public Health. “I thank the Board of Health for taking this important action, and I sincerely thank our residents who are already looking out for one another by getting vaccinated and masking up.”

The Order also allows an exception to indoor public masking for employers, owners and operators of businesses or other facilities who voluntarily implement proof of vaccination requirements for all employees, staff, visitors and patrons entering their facility and become an Approved Fully Vaccinated Facility. During a grace period of approximately three weeks (November 24-December 9), JCPH will accept self-certification from a facility and temporarily approve the facility as an Approved Fully Vaccinated Facility. Facilities who wish to self-certify should email [email protected] with their vaccination policy for employees and patrons. Beginning December 10, facilities must submit an application according to JCPH’s Approved Fully Vaccinated Facility Guidance, which will be released soon. JCPH will release more information on how to become an Approved Fully Vaccinated Facility, including opening a formal application process, in the coming weeks.

Masks are already required in a number of settings, including specific settings per the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Public Health Order 20-38 and on public transportation in the U.S. per federal law. Since Public Health Order 21-006 requires masks in all indoor public spaces, the Board of Health will rescind Jefferson County’s Public Health Order 21-004. 

Click here to read the full Public Health Order 21-006. For more information and answers to frequently asked questions about the Order, click here. For more information about masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, visit https://www.jeffco.us/4056/Mask-Guidance or https://covid19.colorado.gov/mask-guidance.  

About the Jefferson County Board of Health

The Jefferson County Board of Health members are appointed by the Board of County Commissioners to make policies and decisions that will help promote health and prevent disease in the county. The board encourages public input into its decision-making process and welcomes community participation at its regular hearings. For more information, visit the Board of Health webpage.

About Jefferson County Public Health

Public health is what we as a society do collectively to prevent illness and premature death and promote health in our neighborhoods and communities. Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) is a nationally accredited health department committed to promoting and protecting health across the lifespan for all people through prevention, education and partnerships. To learn more about JCPH visit https://www.jeffco.us/public-health. You can also follow JCPH on Twitter @JeffcoPH, Instagram @JeffcoPH and Facebook @jeffcopublichealth.

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