Most of metro Denver moves to medium COVID risk level on CDC dashboard

Much of the Front Range moved from “low” to “medium” risk when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its COVID-19 community levels dashboard Friday.

Denver, Arapahoe, Douglas, Jefferson, Broomfield and Larimer counties switched from low to medium, meaning they have at least 200 new COVID-19 cases for every 100,000 residents. Boulder and Mineral counties were already at the medium level, and the rest of the state was considered low risk.

An order from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment requires masks in congregate settings, like jails, addiction treatment centers and homeless shelters, in counties at the medium or high level.

Masks also will be required in medical facilities in more than half of the state. The current public health order mandates them in counties with “high” or “substantial” transmission on a separate CDC ranking that emphasizes case counts. As of Friday, 43 of Colorado’s 64 counties fell into one of those categories.

“Though we never want to see additional cases in our community, this shift was not unexpected, as more contagious variants such as the BA.2.12.1 variant have spread across the country, state and our county,” Dr. Sarah Rowan, medical director of Jefferson County Public Health, said in a news release. “We are hopeful that by the end of June, we will start to see cases heading back in the right direction.”

Denver announced May 13 that its case counts would put it at the medium level, but that change wasn’t reflected on the CDC’s website until Friday.

The CDC and other public health agencies recommend that people living in areas with increasing spread ensure they’re up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccines, get tested if they feel sick and consider wearing masks in indoor public spaces.

New COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and the rate of tests coming back positive have been increasing in Colorado in recent weeks, with public health officials expecting a peak in the latest wave to come in June.

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