Denver to issue new public health orders on mask use, group gatherings

Denver’s mayor will issue new public health orders Friday morning aimed at stopping the increasing spread of COVID-19 in the city, including additional requirements for mask-wearing and group gatherings.

City officials announced an 11 a.m. news conference for Mayor Michael Hancock and Bob McDonald, executive director of the city’s Department of Public Health and Environment, to discuss Denver’s COVID-19 response and the new public health orders, the full details of which have not been disclosed.

State health officials have described Colorado as being in a “third wave” of COVID-19, following the initial surge of the virus in March and April and a second spike in July. Colorado tied the state’s record of 967 new cases Monday, raising concerns about hospital capacity heading into the holidays as the state’s test positivity rate surpassed the key 5% benchmark.

As of Thursday, 329 people were hospitalized in Colorado with COVID-19, the highest number since May 28, though far from the levels reached during the pandemic’s early wave in April. Seventy-seven percent of the state’s 1,863 intensive care unit beds were in use Thursday, though the state does not track how many of those are coronavirus patients.

Earlier this week, Hancock sounded the alarm over increasing COVID-19 infections, saying the city’s seven-day average case rate was at the same level as it was in May. Denver Public Schools this week announced its middle- and high-school students will continue with remote learning into November.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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