DENVER – Colorado will require all state employees not vaccinated against COVID-19 to be tested twice a week and wear masks indoors over concerns over the delta variant and to be in line with the latest federal requirements.
“I have heard from state employees who are terrified that their unvaccinated co-workers will give them COVID-19 and want vaccination mandated, and from other state workers who have hesitation towards the vaccine,” Gov. Jared Polis said in a statement. “I think this middle road is the right one to take, respecting the right of state workers to decide while also talking effective steps to address the legitimate safety concern of fellow state workers.”
The governor’s office said the requirements will go into effect Sept. 20.
The testing will be free and required for any state workers who have not verified they are fully vaccinated with human resources or through the myColorado app.
The state said once a state employee has been fully vaccinated, they won’t have to submit proof of their twice-weekly testing.
President Joe Biden announced Thursday that federal workers and some contractors would be required to wear masks at work if they can’t prove they are fully vaccinated.
On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the data that has guided its latest decision to recommend people wear masks indoors regardless of their vaccination status because of the spreading delta variant.
It cites a July study involving 469 cases in a county in Massachusetts in which 74% of cases involved fully vaccinated people. Four of those fully vaccinated people ended up in the hospital and zero deaths were reported.
But the study suggested that some of the fully vaccinated people had viral loads similar to people who were not vaccinated or whose vaccination statuses were unknown, and that the delta variant was the main cause of peoples’ infection.
As of Friday, more than 3 million Coloradans were fully immunized in Colorado and 3.35 million people had received their first dose. The state said 71.7% of adult Coloradans had received at least one dose as of Friday, and the state said earlier this month it had hit its goal of vaccinating more than 70% of adults by July 4 with at least one dose.