House GOP Wants Answers About When COVID-19 Restrictions Will End

State Rep. Patrick Neville sits at his desk on the House floor, Feb. 13, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Republicans in the state House are asking Democratic Gov. Jared Polis to share more of the data he is using to craft the state’s response to COVID-19. 

“The data is difficult to interpret at best and incomplete or misleading at worst,” stated the letter dated Monday, April 6, and signed by all 24 House Republicans. “We think we need to do better at informing Coloradans of the nature of this crisis.” 

The letter was dated one day after the state released some additional COVID-19 modeling data. Gov. Polis first provided an in-depth analysis of the data on March 27 during a press conference.

But House Assistant Minority Leader Kevin Van Winkle said what’s still missing are clear benchmarks Colorado must meet before the most severe social distancing measures can be lifted. 

“We need to know the metrics being used to determine success: Whether that's hospital capacity, recovery rates, new infection rates, etc,” Van Winkle said. “Until the public has access to this information, it is impossible for the people to have expectations for a path forward.” 

As the detected cases continue to climb, with the death toll hitting 150 Monday, the state is now preparing for more hospitalizations and trying to get the medical equipment and gear it needs. Polis has already implemented a statewide stay-at-home order, curtailed public events and asked all Coloradans to don cloth face coverings if they leave their home. 

"Governor Polis top priority is keeping Coloradans safe during this pandemic and is guided by data and science,” said a spokesman for the governor in response to the letter. “He often speaks with members of the legislature, Colorado’s federal delegation and other local leaders about the state’s response to this crisis. The Governor has stressed and said numerous times that no one wants to get people back to work more than him.” 

Polis’ office said he will continue to review data as it evolves “to inform future policy decisions, and is striving to increase transparency around the data." 

While Polis’ actions to contain the spread of the coronavirus have generally been met with support, the letter from House Republicans follows one sent by their Senate colleagues in late March that criticized how Polis unveiled his stay at home order. On Monday night Gov. Polis plans to give a 20 minute televised address to the state that will air on CPR News. It will be different from his previous public briefings because it’s not a press conference; there will be no reporters and he won’t be taking questions. But he will take questions from the public during a different address scheduled for Tuesday night. CPR News, along with 9News, KRDO and KKCO/KCJT, will air a town hall with the governor.