Larimer and Weld Counties share a border in Northern Colorado just East of Interstate 25.

But while there’s plenty of overlapping with residents and businesses in the regions centered in Fort Collins and Greeley, the neighboring counties have seen dramatically different COVID-19 pandemics.

State data as of 4 p.m. on Tuesday (July 7), reports that Weld County had the fourth-most positive Coronavirus cases in the state with 2,890 and the fifth-most deaths with 138 

Despite housing about 30,000 more residents, Larimer County has recorded 109 less deaths and 2,000 less positive cases than in Weld County.

Weld County did have a breakout at the JBS Beef Processing Plant that accounted for more than 300 cases and at least eight deaths.

Could a difference in mask policies explain the rest of the differing results?

Workers who deal with customers in both counties are required to wear masks by state law.

Larimer County goes a step further, stipulating that all customers must wear masks when going into businesses as well. The mask policy is currently set indefinitely.

Weld County, however, only recommends mask use but doesn’t require it. 

The counties also differed when allowing non-essential businesses to reopen. Weld County resumed at the end of April, ahead of state allowance. Larimer County got official state approval to reopen at the end of May.

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