The Coronavirus ‘Pandemic Is Not A Vacation’: Polis Warns Colorado To Be Responsible This Weekend

In his first news conference since he issued a statewide “stay-at-home” order, Gov. Jared Polis reiterated the necessity of the move — and prevailed upon Coloradans to cooperate. The governor stressed that the order isn’t a competition to see who can get away with the most, and asked that people not obsess about the exact wording of the order.

Instead, it should be about how few people residents can come in contact with.

“That’s the contest, folks,” Polis said.

Colorado is headed into the first full weekend under the “stay-at-home” order. The state is taking a hit to its economy, local recreation and entertainment sectors and to tourism with ski resorts shuttered. The governor said he understood the desire to get outside, but implored everyone to do it responsibly.

“If you need to recreate, do it in communities close to your home,” he said. The order is specific on essential travel and what is and isn’t included.

“This pandemic is not a vacation.”

On enforcement, people can report activity that doesn’t appear to respect the order or doesn’t take social distancing into account to local law enforcement, public health departments or the Colorado Attorney General’s office.

The governor pointed out that the pandemic is a different kind of disaster. He praised the religious community for thinking outside of the box to avoid physical proximity. He said they are offering telephonic worship, video services and other ways of connecting with their faith communities. For the governor, that is the kind of action that could help the state overcome COVID-19 sooner, rather than later.

Polis Coronavirus Press Conferenve 200327
Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis speaks to reporters Friday afternoon, March 27, 2020 at sheds South Metro Fire Rescue headquarters in Centennial about the the state’s progress in halting the spread of coronavirus.

Polis provided an update on the state’s known positive cases. He said Colorado now has 1,734 cases, with 239 hospitalized and 31 deaths.

In a slide deck presentation before the media, the governor reviewed a calendar of the social distancing actions the state took in advance of the “stay-at-home” order and pointed out how they expect those actions to affect the spread and contagion of the coronavirus.

In terms of the state’s ICU bed capacity, Colorado has 1,849 beds and the goal is to add 1,000 additional beds by May and another 5,000 by the summer. The state assumes they will need half of the current bed count for COVID-19 patients. The governor then covered the estimated mortality the state has modeled based on the amount of social distancing they see.

“These aren't just statistics, these are real people,” Polis said.