FILE - Denver Mayor Michael Hancock

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, left, greets a Denver Police Department officer during a car rally for Doug Emhoff, husband of Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris, at East High School late Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020, in Denver. 

(The Center Square) – Denver Mayor Michael Hancock on Monday warned the public about increasing COVID-19 infection rates in the city and across all of Colorado.

The number of people getting sick is increasing a concerning rate, Hancock said during a virtual press conference on Monday. He added that the 7-day average for cases in the city and county of Denver is as high as the peak pandemic period in May.

Currently, the positivity rate for Denver is between 4 and 4.5%, with at least a 37% increase in hospitalizations from the prior week. 

"We are at a fork in the road, and here’s why the path we choose is so important. Level two is currently in a 'safer-at-home,'" Hancock said, citing Colorado's phased reopening system.

According to Gov. Jared Polis' administration, a level two safer-at-home status means that there can be increased capacities for restaurants and small businesses. Level two also means that local public health departments can define site-specific variances on certain locations.

"We could be forced to go backwards" if cases continue to increase, Hancock said, warning that would mean "absolute devastation" for businesses in the city already struggling.

"It could mean having their kids back to full-time remote learning. And not every parent has the benefit of working from home. It could mean more job losses in our economy, we’re at another make or break moment here," he said. "And that’s the situation we find ourselves in, our city and our residents can’t afford it."

Gov. Polis extended the statewide facemask mandate over the weekend, citing an increase in cases and hospitalizations in recent weeks.