TCHD to Draft Public Health Order Requiring Use of Face Masks

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source: Tri-County Health Department

At an online meeting today, July 8, the Tri-County Health Department (TCHD) Board of Health voted 5 to 4 in favor of a public health order requiring use of face masks in public places. Incidence rates have been rising in all three of the counties that it serves—Arapahoe, Douglas, and especially Adams– similar to the rest of Colorado. Based on growing evidence of the benefit of face masks in preventing transmission of COVID-19, especially from persons without symptoms, and evidence of the benefit of mandates from other jurisdictions, TCHD believes that a mask mandate can increase usage and thereby help slow the spread of COVID-19. The public health order is currently being drafted, and an effective date has not been set.

The Board of Health voted to “… direct and authorize the Executive Director of TCHD to issue a public health order for face coverings for all three counties with an opt-out clause for any municipality or county in TCHD’s jurisdiction. Further, this order will expire on or before 90 days from its implementation date; however, it may be amended, extended or rescinded by the Executive Director of TCHD.”

“There is scientific evidence that wearing face coverings, along with social distancing, can substantially reduce the rates of infection from COVID-19,” said John M. Douglas, Jr., MD, Executive Director of TCHD. “Wearing masks is an easy and effective way to protect your fellow neighbor — as well as your family and yourself — from the virus. It is also a positive solution for keeping businesses open and helping the economy, as well as giving our schools a better chance to fully re-open next month.”

Similar mask orders are currently in place across the country and the state as well as a number of locations across the Front Range including Boulder County, Denver County, and Larimer County, and the cities of Westminster, Northglenn, Englewood, and Fort Collins. The order may be superseded if the governor declares a statewide or specific countywide public health order, or can be rescinded if transmission concerns lessen.

In addition to wearing masks, the spread of the virus can be reduced through social distancing, frequent hand washing, and staying home when you are sick. Learn more about protecting yourself and others at www.tchd.org/Coronavirus.

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