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Gov. Jared Polis updates state on COVID-19 response

Gov. Jared Polis issues statewide mask mandate for Colorado
Posted at 10:38 AM, Nov 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-20 16:24:16-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — Gov. Jared Polis provided an update on the state's response to COVID-19 Friday afternoon, announcing frontline workers will be able to receive a vaccine next month and addressing hospitalization concerns statewide.

Polis said the first Coloradans are set to receive a COVID-19 vaccine next month — those Coloradans being frontline and healthcare workers. He said statewide there is one in every 49 Coloradans who are contagious with the virus.

"It's not a matter of trust, it's a matter of being smart," he said. Polis reiterated avoiding seeing people unless absolutely necessary for the next few weeks.

The governor also said ICU capacity in many Level Red counties across the state is about 90% at this time, causing concern with the trajectory of the spread of the virus.

Dr. Alan-Michael Vargas joined Polis to discuss hospital conditions in rural Colorado with the rising cases of the virus. He discussed his experience working with patients with the virus and reflected on how the spread of the virus can be decreased. He also reiterated the importance of distancing and not seeing other people to help slow the spread.

In response to a question regarding some counties moving into more restrictive levels versus others remaining in a less restrictive level, Polis said the goal is to allow counties to execute mitigation measures and the dial serves as a general directive.

And with counties statewide in Level Red that are in both urban and rural areas, the governor said the virus is "a major threat everywhere in the United States" and that there is community spread.

This follows his press conference Tuesday where he announced that 10 to 15 Colorado counties will move to Level Red: Severe Risk on the state's updated COVID-19 dial, including Denver, Jefferson, and Arapahoe counties, on Friday.

By Tuesday evening, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment announced the full list of counties that were moving to the highest risk level before stay-at-home orders are implemented, beginning Friday.

Pueblo County was added to the list Thursday evening of counties moving into the highest risk level starting Sunday.
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