Governor Polis Updates April 21, 2020 COVID-19 

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Topline Update

We currently have 10,106 cases, 449 deaths, and 1,880 hospitalizations (1096 are currently hospitalized; 215 were discharged in the last 24 hours) out of 47,466 completed tests. We are thinking of these families and communities during these trying times.

This case data is broken down by various categories, is updated daily and can be found here. 

Hospitalization Rate Leveling Off

The Governor began yesterday’s presentation with a piece of good news: hospitalizations in the state have been stable since the beginning of April and are starting to level off and even decline.

This is a testament to the importance of the stay-at-home order and other restrictions that the Governor has put into place during this state of emergency.

From “Stay-At-Home” to “Safer-At-Home”

The administration also presented yesterday some modeling and analysis on the impact of these distancing measures and how we can move forward.

Here are some key conclusions:

  • We need to maintain sustainable, high levels of social distancing 

  • Seniors and vulnerable populations need to maintain even higher levels of social distancing. 

  • Each intervention (testing, containment, wearing masks, sustainable social distancing, strong precautions for seniors and vulnerable populations) alone does not keep us below hospital capacity. 

  • A successful strategy is a combination of all of these interventions. 

  • Based on the modeling and the trajectory of infections and hospitalizations in Colorado, the state will not renew the statewide “Stay-at-Home” order on April 27; rather, the state will shift to a new phase of the coronavirus response, called “Safer-At-Home”

Currently, the “Stay-at-Home” order has limited our interactions by 75-80%, which has allowed us to slow down the growth of this deadly virus, and has bought us more time to build hospital capacity, obtain equipment and ramp up testing. This new “Safer-at-Home” phase will relax some of these restrictions while maintaining a new level of social distancing: around a 60-65% reduction of normal interactions.

This is a marathon -- not a sprint. These distancing measures need to be sustainable, because we’re going to have to learn to live with coronavirus for a while. There will likely be some level of social distancing happening until we get a vaccine, an effective anti-viral therapy, or so many people have been infected that we develop herd immunity,  but that’s the worst-case scenario.

What does “Safer-At-Home” Mean?

The Governor has proposed a number of policy changes that will allow for 60-65% social distancing, which is much more sustainable for our lives and our economy than the current 75-80% under the stay-at-home order.

These policies are still a work in process, and will continue to evolve based on the recommendations of scientists and public health experts.

The Governor will publish more guidance in the coming week, including details on appropriate precautions and distancing standards for various establishments and facilities. But here’s a preview of what things might look like (subject to change):

  • The general population will no longer be ordered to stay at home; folks will be encouraged to stay at home except when absolutely necessary.

    • Folks are still strongly advised to wear face coverings in public

    • Gatherings over 10 people will still be banned

    • Sick people should still avoid going to work

    • Everyone should still avoid unnecessary travel

    • And most importantly, older Coloradans and vulnerable populations still need to stay at home unless absolutely necessary.

  • Other changes: 

    • Retail will be able to open for curbside delivery at first, with phased-in public openings with strict distancing precautions.

    • Non-critical offices will be able to re-open at 50% capacity with strict social distancing precautions (more shifts, etc.)

      • Large workplaces are advised to have symptoms and temperature checks.

      • Telecommuting should be maximized

      • Accommodations will be needed for seniors and vulnerable populations 

    • Elective Surgeries will once again be available with strict precautions to ensure adequate PPE and the ability to meet critical care needs.

    • Child Care facilities can reopen but with strict precautions

    • Personal services like hair and nail salons, tattoo parlors, dog grooming, personal training, etc. can reopen but with strict precautions

    • House showings can begin in person, but open houses will still be prohibited.

Local Government

We did a good job staying at home as a state and as a result, we no longer need a state-wide stay-at-home order. But that doesn’t mean that every city or community is ready to lift their restrictions. Many local governments, especially those with large populations or in areas where there are hotspots, may continue to have more restrictive rules in place. There will be a process for local governments to work with the administration and modify these new regulations based on local conditions.