COLORADO SPRINGS — Gov. Jared Polis provided an update on the state's response to COVID-19 Friday afternoon.
State Epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy joined Gov. Polis and gave an update on the state’s modeling.
Gov. Polis began with sending his condolences to the families and friends of the 4,107 Coloradans who have died due to COVID-19.
"I think every Coloradan has suffered some loss, and our hearts go out to those who have," said Polis.
Dr. Herlihy said there are early signs of an increase in COVID-19 cases following Christmas. It is still too early to see any potential impact from New Years. Dr. Herlihy said we won't see any potential impact of New Year's Eve until next week.
An estimated 1 in 105 Coloradans are actively contagious with the virus. This has come down since the peak in mid-November.
"We continue to see a large percentage of Colorado's population actively infected with COVID-19 and having the potential to transmit infection to each other, so contact between individuals continues to be high risk in this state," said Dr. Herlihy.
There has been a decrease in hospitalizations, and we are not seeing an impact of the holidays on hospitalizations right now. Dr. Herlihy said wearing masks and social distancing have a greater impact on individual hospitalizations than the vaccine at this moment. It will be a few months before we see the impact the vaccine has on hospitalizations.
Gov. Polis said Coloradans are in Phase 1B of vaccine distributions, and most places in the state have started this phase. Areas that have not started vaccinating those in Phase 1B should begin in the next few days.
Gov. Polis said the goal is to have 70% of Coloradans 70 and older vaccinated by Feb. 28. They are partnering with hospitals, community partners and LPHAs, retail pharmacies and federal qualified centers to reach this goal. Many hospitals in the state are reaching out to those 70 and older right now through email or a phone call.
"If you get a phone call or an email from a hospital that you've had any contact with and you're in their data base...they are contacing all the folks they know are 70 and up. So if you get a link, make sure it's from the hospital, we don't want any scams here, make sure it's really from Kiser or UCHealth."
If you do not think you are in a hospital system, or do not have an active My Health Connection account or are new to UCHealth, you will need to sign up to be placed on a list to to receive the vaccine when it is available for your phase. CLICK HERE to sign up.
If you are a Centura Health patient, you will receive an invitation when it is your time to receive the vaccine through their patient portal, MyCenturaHealth. Centura Health plans to begin vaccinating about 9,000 people age 70 and up a day. CLICK HERE for more information on vaccine distribution from Centura Health.
Gov. Polis said the state is receiving about 70,000 vaccines a week. So, if you sign up to receive a vaccine, it may take a few weeks to get an appointment.
During the press conference, Gov. Polis and Dr. Herlihy said the state is not seeing a widespread transmission of the COVID-19 variant right now.