Friday, July 10, 2020

Mayor Suthers notes COVID spike, warns a mask mandate might be coming

Posted By on Fri, Jul 10, 2020 at 4:30 PM

click to enlarge Mayor Suthers wearing a mask in April. - COURTESY CITY OF COLORADO SPRINGS
  • Courtesy City of Colorado Springs
  • Mayor Suthers wearing a mask in April.
Colorado Springs is "losing ground" in its fight against the coronavirus, and a mandatory mask order might be necessary to stem the spread, Mayor John Suthers warned today, July 10, on his official Facebook page.

His message:
We are losing ground in our effort to fight COVID-19 based on numbers coming in over the last few days. This puts us at risk of losing our variances, which have allowed many businesses to re-open. While I’m reluctant to do a mask mandate because of obvious enforcement challenges, if it comes down to choosing between closing our businesses again, or putting a mask mandate in place, I would likely side with our local business community and enact a mandate to protect them. However, my hope is that people will see the urgency of this situation, and voluntarily wear a mask, so we can move to recovery and not put our City back. (Emphasis added.)
We wrote about the mask controversy in this week's Indy.

El Paso County logged 106 new cases on July 9, the highest total by far since the pandemic struck in February and March. The rolling seven-day average also shows cases have spiked.
  • El Paso County Public Health

Statewide, 345 cases were reported on July 8, which is less than half the 725 cases reported on April 25 but nevertheless is a spike after cases took a dive in late May and early June.

Here's the latest from Gov. Jared Polis in a release issued today, July 10:
Like most of the United States, Colorado has seen an upward trend in cases and hospitalizations over the past couple of weeks. The administration will continue monitoring the public health situation very closely and will adjust reopening strategies based on the trajectory of the spread of the virus. Last week, Governor Polis announced that bars — settings that are particularly vulnerable vectors for contagion — would remain closed for the time being. The state will continue to be guided by data and science as we all work together to manage this crisis.

While we are concerned with the recent uptick in cases, it’s worth noting that Colorado is nowhere close to reaching or breaching the state’s hospital ICU capacity, which has been our top concern all along. And despite the slight uptick in cases and hospitalizations, Colorado continues to perform better than the national average, and continues to be a positive outlier thanks to everyone doing their part:

Individuals are wearing masks, keeping distance, staying Safer at Home or in the Vast, Great Outdoors, protecting vulnerable populations, and practicing proper hygiene.

The state is working to get more PPE and testing supplies, and providing economic support for businesses and individuals including $250 million in state CLIMBER loans.

Our local governments are stepping up on mask ordinances, repurposing space to allow for more social distancing, and enhancing local public health agency capacity.

The business community is also doing the right thing — requiring masks for customers, being flexible when it comes to teleworking, and taking steps to protect employees and patrons.

As a result, Colorado’s small businesses are performing slightly better than national averages on key metrics, including making payments like rent, payroll, utilities, and loans, the number of employee hours worked, and number of employees retained. Colorado’s unemployment rate, while still persistently and unacceptably high, is three points lower than the national average.

The key to keeping our virus transmission levels down while increasing economic opportunity is to continue maintaining our status as a positive outlier among our neighboring states and throughout the country.

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