Masks will be required to be worn in all indoor public spaces in the City of Littleton beginning Wednesday at 12:01 a.m. in compliance with a new mandate ordered by the Tri-County Health Department.
The mandate will stay in effect until at least Jan. 2, and possibly longer until staffed ICU bed capacity reaches 10% or greater for 14 consecutive days. Currently, staffed ICU bed availability in metro Denver is only 5.8%, according to the health department, which serves Arapahoe County.
The move comes amid rapidly rising coronavirus cases in Colorado, with daily case rates far higher than what was seen during the onset of the pandemic in spring 2020 and into that summer. As cases and deaths continue to trend upwards, the state may hit numbers not seen since last December's peak.
The crisis has strained hospitals throughout the metro region with 100% of all ICU beds in use in Arapahoe County. Of those hospitalized, more than 80% are unvaccinated, according to a news release from the City of Littleton.
"Masks have proven to be effective in reducing the spread of this virus, especially when combined with other prevention efforts," said Executive Director of Tri-County Health John M. Douglas, Jr. in the new release. "With the holiday season upon us, this order is necessary to try to avoid hospital capacity being breached by a growing number of hospitalizations and running the risk of having to ration medical care."
For owners and managers of indoor spaces who have already implemented vaccination requirements for employees, customers and visitors, the order grants them the ability to request an exception to the mask mandate.
Arapahoe County is one of six other counties in Colorado that have implemented some form of a mask mandate. Those counties currently are Adams, Boulder, Denver, Jefferson, Larimer and Pitkin.
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