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The more contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 is rampant in Colorado, but Gov. Jared Polis dismissed the need for new public health restrictions to stop its spread.
Why it matters: The variant first discovered in India now comprises nine of 10 cases in Colorado, well above the national average.
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Case counts increased more than 20% in two weeks and deaths recently topped 7,000.
In a briefing Wednesday, Polis said that he would only consider mask requirements or other similar health protocols if the state's hospital systems are at risk of being overwhelmed.
Polis' stance is in line with federal recommendations.
What he's saying: Polis said the state is not "focused as much on positive cases," and instead looks at hospitalization rates.
The current level "is not a threat," he said.
He said 96% of hospitalizations for COVID-19 are people who are not fully vaccinated.
Flashback: Polis declared an end to the pandemic July 8, lifting most public health emergency rules.
Of note: Colorado hit the 70% adult vaccination mark by July 4, but uptake of the vaccine since then has been slow. The state is now at 71%.
The state is partnering with Walmart to offer $100 gift cards to those who get vaccinated at certain sites. And community colleges are offering scholarships to students who get vaccinated.
Yes but: Similar incentives, such as the state's $1 million sweepstakes, have not made a major difference in vaccination rates.
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