Colorado is trending upward in positive COVID-19 cases and Gov. Jared Polis expressed concern for what that could mean for Coloradans and the economy if it continues. On Friday, Colorado set a new high for COVID-19 positive cases at 1,312, the governor said. There are currently 352 hospitalizations.
“We are very concerned about the number of cases,” Polis said. “It continues to increase. This is the most since late May and I am very concerned about this trend.”
This is the third straight day Colorado has recorded more than 1,000 cases and Polis said the positivity rate continues to exceed 5%, which is a threshold the World Health Organization set for whether enough testing is being done. Colorado has seen over 81,800 coronavirus cases.
“Right now, 1 in about every 260 Coloradans are currently contagious with COVID-19,” he said.
As part of addressing this concerning trend, the governor encouraged people to avoid social gatherings and large groups or limiting the size of gatherings between five to 10 people. He also urged people to hold gatherings outside when possible and for Coloradans to continue to wear face coverings.
“I can’t emphasize strongly enough how concerning these trends are,” he said. “If you extrapolate the trend we’re seeing for the next few weeks, we could be in trouble in a few weeks and next month.”
With the holiday season just around the corner, Polis said Coloradans have to do better to ensure the state remains a safe environment for families to enjoy their holidays together.
“We’ve got to do better about reducing the number of people we see, reduce gatherings and social distancing,” he said. “We need to look deep inside all of ourselves and say “how badly do I want to stay safe; how much do I value my own life and the lives of loved ones?’”
Polis acknowledged how Coloradans do value their own lives as well as those of family and friends.
Along with his remarks about Coloradans doing their part to combat the upward trend in coronavirus cases, Polis shared how an emergency disbursement of a vaccine could be released as early as November. However, that vaccine will not be widely available to the public. There are four current vaccine trials ongoing.
Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Jill Hunsaker Ryan said once a vaccine becomes available, hospital employees, first responders and long-term health care facilities workers will have top priority.
Once the initial distribution is complete, vaccine access will be based on a phased approach.
Lauren Brant is a staff writer and digital content coordinator for the Montrose Daily Press.