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Polis: Colorado doing better than most, but not well enough

Posted at 1:08 PM, Jul 28, 2020

COLORADO SPRINGS — Gov. Jared Polis provided an update on the state's response to COVID-19 Tuesday afternoon.

Polis began Tuesday by talking about numbers and the near future.

He said the impact of the mask order should show up soon.

The Gov. then said Colorado is doing better than many states. We're not on the prohibited travel list for states like New York and Washington. He said the mask requirement is so important, partly because of tourists from hot spot states.

Polis then said the positivity rate was around 20 percent in April. We’ve been hovering around just below 5% now.

There are currently 251 Coloradans with COVID in the hospital. This means there is plenty of capacity, Polis said. He added that the typical time for hospitalization is 13-14 days after infection, so hospitalizations lag.

The Gov. then said that if we can live like we did in May instead of like we did in July, we will be fine. "Everything was open, but we need that level of precaution," he said.
Polis then said that there are areas of the state that need swift action to avoid a "regional of statewide problem."

Polis then showed a color-coded map of counties. El Paso County was among the red-colored counties, meaning the county is seeing 100+ diagnoses per 100,000 people per day. If counties don't turn numbers around within two weeks, they will lose variances. "Red" counties have "an increasing and dangerous infection rate that is unsustainable," Polis said. "A health set back is an economic setback" he added.

When asked about the upcoming school year, Polis said cohorting is the most important strategy schools can use.

"Colorado is doing better than most, but not well enough to rest on our laurels," Polis said.

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The governor announced Thursday that Colorado will ramp up its own COVID-19 test processing capabilities in coming weeks to cut back on the time in which results are turned around, with private labs that handle much of the processing currently experiencing massive backlogs that have resulted in it taking up to two weeks for some people to receive their results.

Saying that Colorado “can no longer rely on national testing,” Polis said that the state was working with state hospitals and private labs to be able to process thousands more tests per day than are currently being done and purchasing hundreds of thousands of more test and swab kits that are expected to be delivered by the end of September.

Colorado and its partners are currently testing more than 10,000 people per day, Polis said, with the state lab processing an average of 3,000 tests per day while working around the clock.

'We ain't going to wait': Colorado will ramp up testing, processing as national lab backlog grows