As Holidays Near, COVID Infections Rise in Northern States, Mountain West
The nation could face a fifth surge in infections
At the foot of the Rocky Mountains, Tom Gonzales, director of public health in Colorado’s sixth-largest county, made a decision in mid-October that felt like a dismaying retreat in the battle against the coronavirus. He reinstated an indoor mask mandate.
It was not a popular move, but Gonzales felt he had no choice. In Larimer County, which stretches eastward from the Continental Divide to the high plains and encompasses the city of Fort Collins, hospitals were overwhelmed by a surge of COVID-19 patients that began slowly in August, plateaued for a while — and then exploded unexpectedly once the leaves began to turn.
By the end of last week, the number of COVID-19 patients in the county’s hospitals matched the peak in December 2020.
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