‘This Is Crunch Time, Folks’: Polis Worries About Coronavirus Trends In The West

Jared Polis, r m
David Zalubowski/AP
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis uses his face mask to illustrate a point during a news conference on the state’s efforts to curb the spread of the new coronavirus Monday, June 15, 2020, in Denver.

Gov. Jared Polis wants Coloradans to know there’s still good news in the state, even as neighboring states have seen renewed increases in the coronavirus. In most cases, Colorado has seen its cases fall.

The governor’s message was direct: “This is crunch time,” and it’s time for personal responsibility.

“We're we're still in the fifth or sixth inning here and we're one run up,” Polis said. “The bases are loaded with runners on base in Utah and Arizona. You know, and it really depends on our behavior here in the next few weeks and months.”

Polis is a self-described “baseball guy” and his latest COVID-19 update was peppered with sports analogies as he exhorted the state to continue to follow recommendations to control the spread of the virus.

There are some warning signs, particularly in Boulder County. The county’s health department reported a reversal of its downward case trend. Prior to June 10, the county reported the second-lowest new case rate in the Denver metro. Now they have the third-highest case increase. It’s one indicator that has the governor concerned about the state’s progress.

“We as a society need to learn to live with this virus and not give it an environment that allows it to grow exponentially and overwhelm our hospitals and cost thousands or tens of thousands of lives of Coloradans.”

Face masks and risk evaluations are still part of the plan as the state continues to reopen and transition past the various public health orders that have been used to manage the crisis. Bars and other businesses that are next to reopen have been given updated guidelines and the state is getting ready to move to the next reopening phase known as “Protect Our Neighbors.”

Polis read public comments from two Coloradans, one highly critical of the state’s response to COVID-19 that referred to him as “Overlord” and another that called for more rules and public health order. Throughout the crisis, the governor has tried to avoid pronouncements, instead counting on Coloradans making good decisions.

“For your safety, your loved ones' safety, for the sake of our economy and our way of life and the freedoms that we enjoy: Please, please wear a mask,” he said.