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Gov. Polis warns growth in COVID-19 cases could overwhelm ICU capacity

Gov. Jared Polis issues statewide mask mandate for Colorado
Posted at 10:24 AM, Nov 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-24 17:39:44-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — At a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Jared Polis and State Epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy said that Colorado continues to see an increase in the number of hospitalizations.

Dr. Herlihy also said we are projected to exceed our ICU capacity by mid-January. Currently, there are only five ICU beds available in Pueblo and 14 beds in Colorado Springs. The state's goal is to get to a place of 80% transmission control.

The latest numbers show that Colorado has surpassed 200,000 total cases. There are 1,597 COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized.

Gov. Polis said 1 in 41 Coloradans are estimated to be infected with the virus right now. Colorado projects the state's 2,800 deaths from COVID-19 so far will double by the end of 2020 at current virus transmission rates.

This press conference comes one day after the governor signed an executive order allowing at-capacity hospitals to transfer patients, and stop admitting new ones, to help them respond to a surge in COVID-19 patients across the state.

During the press conference, the governor stated that we are weeks away from the first doses of a vaccine in Colorado.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has updated the state's COVID-19 dial. The new status dial now includes Level Purple, extreme risk, and is the most restrictive level on the dial.

Hospitals will not have to receive a patient's consent for a transfer, if directed by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, according to Polis' order. The order also applies to freestanding emergency room facilities.

Gov. Polis also announced the formation of a special task force on how students can return to in-person learning. Many school districts, including the state's largest in Denver, have moved to fully-remote classes.
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