States resist mask rules as Midwest virus uptick stirs alarm (copy)

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis puts on his face covering after a July news conference.

The offices of Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers report the leaders remain healthy through the coronavirus pandemic.

Other elected officials have not been so lucky: 59 state legislators across the country and 11 members of the U.S. Congress have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, according to Ballotpedia.

Staffers for Polis and Hancock say the two have been tested a number of times over the last several months to be safe.

“The governor has been tested several times and his last test was in late May, and he has shown no symptoms of illness,” Polis’ spokesman Conor Cahill said in an email.

Hancock has been tested four times, spokeswoman Theresa Marchetta said. “He will get another test next week, as he has been doing regularly every 2-3 weeks.”

Suthers has not been tested for COVID-19. He has not experienced symptoms or had reason to believe he was exposed to the virus, said Julie Smith, a spokeswoman for the city.

Suthers is following the recommended precautions, including wearing a mask and having his temperature taken at the city administration building. He is also not attending as many events as he was before the virus started spreading locally and much of his work has moved to conference calls and online meetings, she said.

The number of coronavirus cases and related hospitalizations in Colorado might be plateauing, Polis said last week. He credited the decline to the state mask mandate and his executive order to make 10 p.m. the last call for booze at restaurants.

COVID-19 is spreading at about half the speed in the past few weeks, The Gazette reported Aug. 1. The virus’ reproductive rate was down to 1 on July 31, indicating that at least for now the spread had essentially stopped multiplying.

Still, Polis “continues to urge Coloradans to wear masks in public, practice good hygiene and social distance,” Cahill said.

Across Colorado, there have been more than 41,000 cases of the virus and 1,863 related deaths, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

In El Paso County, 5,187 residents have tested positive for COVID-19 and 139 residents have died, according to the county health department.

Gazette reporter Mary Shinn contributed to this story.

Contact the writer at mary.shinn@gazette.com or (719) 429-9264.

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