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What new CDC masking guidelines mean for southern Colorado

How the CDC's new mask guidelines will affect Southern Colorado
Posted at 3:19 PM, Feb 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-25 22:59:15-05

PUEBLO — On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced it would ease the indoor mask guidance for the public and in schools. The CDC now only recommends universal masking in schools for areas in the "high" category.

For now, the announcement does not change many rules and guidelines currently in place in southern Colorado but could lead to more relaxed rules in the future.

Colorado Governoe Jared Polis ended the statewide mask mandate in May 2021 and the health emergency declaration in July. Since then, COVID-19 guidelines and mandates have been left up to local entities.

El Paso County
El Paso County Public Health (EPCPH) has not released a response to the new updated CDC guidance, but as of right now mask requirements are being left up to individual school districts.

Many school districts started the year without mask requirements, but as surges happened in the fall and over the holidays, some school districts brought back mask requirements to help slow the spread. For the spring semester, most school districts have dropped the mask requirement.

The only school district still requiring a mask mandate is Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8, due to the Department of Defense's memorandum saying all persons age 2+ must wear a mask when inside FFC8 schools on Fort Carson.

Pueblo
On Friday, the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment (PDPHE) voted to adjust their COVID-19 response efforts and school mask order to follow along with CDC guidelines.

As of Friday, there are no changes to current policies in Pueblo. According to the CDC's website, Pueblo County is listed as a "high risk" category, where universal masking in schools is still recommended. In late January the PDBHE allowed school districts to make their own decisions regarding facial coverings. As of February 4, masks are optional in all D70 Public Schools buildings, however, masks are still required in all D60 Public School Buildings.

Shortly after the CDC's announcement, PDHE said that their clinic would provide services for international travelers again starting on March 3 in alignment with updated federal travel guidance. The clinic provides health risk-related education, immunizations, and prescriptions to prepare individuals for travel outside of the United States.

The clinic paused services to follow CDC safety guidelines related to travel during COVID-19. As of late January 2022, the CDC lifted travel restrictions for fully vaccinated persons.

Patients are seen by appointment on Thursday afternoons only. Appointments may be made by calling the travel clinic (719) 583-4380. The international travel clinic is located inside PDPHE at 101 W. 9th Street, Pueblo, CO.

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