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Colorado reinstates mask mandate for residents, staff and visitors at nursing homes

Colorado reinstates mask mandate for residents, staff and
visitors at nursing homes 1

Residents, visitors and staff of Colorado nursing homes will have to start wearing masks again under a new order from the state health department.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment announced Tuesday evening that it would reinstate the requirement for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had recommended last week that vaccinated people in counties with “high” or “substantial” spread of the virus wear masks in indoor public places. Only 11 of Colorado’s 64 counties have fewer than 50 cases per 100,000 people, which is the cutoff point for substantial spread.

The state order also requires facilities to test fully vaccinated residents and staff who have been close to a person who has COVID-19. Exposed people will have to take rapid tests every day until enough time has passed that it’s clear they aren’t infected. They also will have to take a test that looks for the virus’s genetic material, which is more accurate but takes longer to yield results.

Unvaccinated staff already had to take rapid tests frequently, as did residents who left their home facilities for more than 24 hours.

“As we look to decrease new COVID-19 cases, additional or more stringent infection prevention measures may be necessary at times,” Randy Kuykendall, director of the state health department’s health facilities and emergency medical services division, said in a news release. “Our experts will continue to monitor virus data so we can make mitigation decisions that best fit Colorado’s residential care facilities.”

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