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Colorado re-enacts mask mandate for nursing homes, regardless of vaccination status

Patty Racheff talks on a cellphone in December with her 94-year-old mother, Maddy Surdey, behind a window separating them at Four Corners Health Care. Surdey is one of 84 residents to contract COVID-19 in an outbreak that started in November. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)
The restriction is another hint at the worsening coronavirus situation in Colorado and across the country

Colorado health officials Tuesday night reinstated a mask mandate for everyone who enters a nursing home, regardless of their vaccination status.

The restriction, while subtle and affecting only a limited number of people, is another hint at the worsening coronavirus situation in Colorado and across the country, driven by spread of the more contagious delta variant.

“The recent CDC announcement recommends that people in substantial and high transmission areas wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status ,” Randy Kuykendall, director of Colorado’s Health Facilities and EMS Division, said in a written statement. “As we look to decrease new COVID-19 cases, additional or more stringent infection prevention measures may be necessary at times and our experts will continue to monitor virus data so we can make mitigation decisions that best fit Colorado’s residential care facilities.”

Gov. Jared Polis has said repeatedly that he doesn’t plan to reinstate broad coronavirus restrictions as long as Colorado’s hospitals aren’t set to be overrun with patients.

Nursing homes and other senior care centers took the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic when it first arrived in Colorado. The disease killed hundreds of residents of those facilities.

The Colorado Sun is a reader-supported, nonpartisan news organization dedicated to covering Colorado issues. To learn more, go to coloradosun.com.