Colorado issues vaccine mandate for large public indoor events amid rise in hospitalizations

Posted at 6:03 PM, Nov 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-15 19:58:31-05

DENVER — As COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to rise in the state, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment issued a public health order Sunday, mandating vaccines for people attending large public indoor events in six counties in the Denver metro area.

The order applies to Denver, Arapahoe, Adams, Boulder, Broomfield, and Jefferson counties and requires that everyone be vaccinated at indoor, unseated events with more than 500 people. The order takes effect Friday.

"We have been in communication with all counties to determine what’s most effective for their region and communities," the CDPHE said Sunday evening. "We are proud of these six counties for stepping up, and doing what’s right in their areas. We will continue conversations with other counties about how the state can be most helpful in helping them tailor public health policies for their communities."

The CDPHE said unseated events can pose a greater risk of transmission because individuals can interact with more people.

The order comes as COVID-19 hospitalizations in Colorado continues to rise and could top 2,250 in December, exceeding the state’s capacity.

Polis on Thursday signed an executive order formalizing the state’s guidance that everyone age 18+ who meets the eligible timeframe to get a COVID-19 booster shot be allowed to get one, and urged those who do contract the virus to seek out monoclonal antibody treatments.

State Epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy presented data Thursday showing that 79% of people currently hospitalized in Colorado for COVID-19 are not vaccinated and that vaccinated people were nearly 9 times less likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19 than unvaccinated people.

The CDPHE said the vaccine mandate for large public indoor events is a way for the state to act without having a major impact on the economy.

“I am grateful for the counties that are coordinating with the state to slow the spread of the virus. Large venues and local governments are part of the solution to ending the pandemic,” said CDPHE Executive Director Jill Hunsaker Ryan in a statement. “We also need all Coloradans to do their part by getting vaccinated if they haven’t already; getting a booster; and following basic public health precautions like masking, staying home when sick, and handwashing.”