May 7, 2021 - News
Colorado's COVID "high plateau"
Illustration of a series of COVID shapes lined up to make a gradient of colors
Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Colorado's COVID-19 case rate is decreasing, but the state continues to hit alarming benchmarks.

Driving the news: Public health officials reported yesterday that five cases of an Indian variant are present in Mesa County — the first detected in the state.

  • The highest COVID rates are among those aged 11-17 — middle and high schoolers — and cases among children aged 3-10 also are rising.
  • Hospitalizations are still increasing at a concerning level, officials added.

What they're saying: Rachel Herlihy, the state's epidemiologist, said Colorado is settled at a "high plateau" for disease transmission.

In Denver, COVID-19 hospitalizations are rising but city officials are lifting mask requirements for certain indoor spaces:

  • Masks are no longer needed indoors if 80% of people inside are fully vaccinated.
  • Restaurant staff can remove masks inside if 85% of them are vaccinated.
  • No face coverings will be required indoors if nine or fewer people are present.

The intrigue: Denver public health director Bob McDonald said people can prove their vaccination status by showing their vaccination cards, but it remains unclear how vaccine verification will work in practice.

What to watch: Denver Mayor Michael Hancock plans to ensure 70% of all Denverites have received at least one vaccine dose by July 1, three days before President Biden’s national vaccination goal.

  • Colorado topped 2 million people who are fully vaccinated, just over one-third of the total population.
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