Gov. Jared Polis Friday said Colorado has reached a “critical juncture” in the state’s efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic and he reiterated his concern about the accelerating number of cases and hospitalizations due to COVID-19.
The governor pointed to what he said were 1,312 new cases reported Thursday and 352 people hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19, the highest number of patients since late May.
Polis also said the state submitted its coronavirus vaccination plan to the federal Centers for Disease Control. Friday was the deadline for health officials across the country to give the federal government their plans for distributing the vaccine and inoculating citizens.
The governor said there won’t be enough of the initial doses to vaccinate everyone, so the state has prioritized certain groups to receive the vaccine first, with health care workers a top priority, then first responders, essential workers and nursing home residents.
Polis cautioned people to continue to social distance and wear masks to slow the spread.
"One in 260 Coloradans are currently contagious with the virus," Polis said. "We could be in trouble in the next few weeks or next month."
Polis said that means if a person goes to three or four gatherings with 30-40 people, they have about a 50 percent chance of being around someone who has the virus and is contagious.
He called on Coloradoans to avoid large get-togethers, limit social gatherings to no more than 10 people, and even to reschedule weekend plans.
“If you have social plans this weekend with some friends to get together at their house, I suggest you delay those a few weeks,” Polis said.
The governor expressed concern about Colorado’s high positivity rate — which has climbed back above 5 percent whether measured daily, or averaged over three or seven days.
The governor noted there are over 80 testing sites across the state and said while the Pepsi Center is closed for testing, another site in the Waterworld parking lot in metro Denver is doing large-scale testing. The governor said test results are coming back within one to two days, far more quickly than early on in the pandemic.
More than one million Coloradans have now been tested for COVID-19, and 20,000 or more tests are regularly conducted each day in the state.